Thursday, 1 December 2011

The holidays are coming...

It's the start of December! So let's talk about Christmas Trees...

Everyone has their own ideas about Christmas Trees and their own traditions.  I grew up in a house where we firmly believed in real trees! To me it's just not Christmas without the fun of going to pick out the tree and then bringing that lovely pine needle scent into your home! 

When we were younger we used to go to the local apple tree farm to pick ours! It was a whole family outing.  I remember there being a huge massive selection and my sisters and I would spend ages running around checking out every tree to see who had found the perfect bushiest tree with the most evenly distributed branches! We would also get warm drinks given to us by the farmers wife...and one year I remember them throwing in a free wreath for our front door too! The only problem with this little happy scenario was this usually used to happen most likely in the week leading upto Christmas, we tried every year to get it to happen sooner but my dad was always a bit last minute with our apple tree farm visits! 

So...when Byron and I got married I tried to carry on most of our Jones Family tree traditions like only going real (By had grown up with fake trees) and also going to local places where we could pick out the prettiest tree we wanted.  The one tradition I obviously changed was the date that we bought the tree so the Braithwaite family tradition is that we buy our tree on December 1st - so we get to enjoy it for as long as possible! 

I thought it would be fun to take a look at Christmas trees past...

This tree was from our first Christmas as a married couple (sorry for the grainy pic - I had to get it from facebook!) Another tradition I continue from my mom was that our trees had to be decorated with a 'theme'.  So I decided it would be fun to carry on the theme we had at our wedding - pink, black and polka dot. We were still poor students so we had to go for a rather small tree, but we were pretty happy with it.

So when our 2nd Christmas rolled around, I thought I would carry on another tradition of my moms which was changing the theme! and buying all new decorations! but that one didn't go down too well with Byron so we stuck with pink and black for another year! and this time eco friendly By decided we should get a plantable tree that we could dig up again the next year.  As luck would have it we would have moved again by the following Christmas! 

So we were able to get this beauty! My favourite tree by far for Christmas no.3! and we finally decided pink and black wasn't a good theme because we were struggling to find new decorations that fit the theme so I was happy we got a new theme - red and cream and rustic! Another Jones family tradition is tinsel is a definite no go so I was happy with this candy cane stripped ribbon that adorned our tree instead! 

Everything was going well until island living threatened our prospect of getting a real tree last year!! or any tree for that matter! The real Christmas trees sold on the island had been imported from Canada so they had a nice fat price tag of $100! and as much as I desperately wanted a real tree that just wasn't in our budget so our plans looked doomed for a while until we found the garden centre down the road had these little trees for a much more reasonable $32! 

Unfortunately our theme sort of had to go out the window because we didn't have room in our 4 suitcases we took over for decorations! but lots of our friends and family sent over lovely decorations for us like cupcake baubles and gingerbread men and candy canes so I guess maybe we had a sugar themed tree! 

It wasn't the most impressive looking tree we'd ever had but it was one of my most loved since I was so worried we wouldn't be able to fufil our tradition of having a real tree! and that little tree saved the day! 

which brings me around to this year! when plans to get a real tree were again uncertain since we are going to be away for alot of Christmas visiting family and we're also back to being poor students without extra money for making our house super festive! so we thought it wouldn't make sense to get one.

We went to look at a few garden centres to see how the trees were priced just incase.  We went to one garden centre that on its website had raved about amazing christmas displays that people come from far and wide to see! We didn't get our hopes up, we've sussed out North Wales definition of amazing now and it doesn't match ours so we didn't hold our breath and it was a good thing in the end because the displays weren't even worth taking pictures of (I had taken my camera just in case!)

So I had given up hope of a tree until yesterday when By suggested we stopped by B&Q.  I wish you could have seen the look on my face, B&Q does not fit in with where I usually like to buy my trees.  I realise this is making me sound like a snob...but I have been spoiled by too many wonderful Christmas trees past to make me ever want to buy one from a chain like B&Q.  One of the saddest things was that all their trees were already bagged up so you had no idea if yours was going to be lopsided when you cut it open or if there was going to be a bare patch in the middle! but the prices were very reasonable so we crossed our fingers and hoped for the best, I swallowed my pride and we took our tree home!

and I am very happy to say that this little tree is the straightest most well proportioned tree we've probably ever had!

 I can't stop looking at it and getting over just how perfectly distributed all the branches are!! I am officially apologising to B&Q for having no faith in their trees and I am so happy that we got to have a real tree in the end...and what made me even more happy was being reunited with all our decorations! 

So we got busy, I put on our Christmas playlist on itunes (Rockin' around the Christmas tree is By's fave whilst I'm partial to a bit of sleigh ride), I whipped up some brownies and we set to work decorating...

This set of advent envelopes was made for me by my lovely visiting teachers from Reading a few years back, and each day we read a scripture relating to the birth of our saviour...

because after all, Jesus is the reason for the season! Let's not forget that! 

and let's not forget how co-ordinating festive treats to the activity you're doing makes everything more fun! like these triple mint choc chip brownies complete with Christmas tree sprinkles! 

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