Hunting for our Christmas tree is one of my favourite holiday traditions. Maybe it is a Canadian thing, but being able to find the tree that you want to bring home and decorate makes looking at your tree so much more special. To me, the tree is integral to my celebration- the trip to go get the tree and cut it down, the fresh smell, decorating it, it all factors into my Christmas experience. And to top it all off, I got to go Christmas tree hunting with a puppy!
From my unofficial surveys, my friends have a mix of real and artificial trees. I am not a fan of the artificial variety for a few reasons: the chemicals that go into making them, the storage bit during the year, the lack of smell. However, I do completely understand that when you have allergies or rent somewhere that has rules against live trees, you do what you have to do! I am grateful that this is a tradition that we’ve always had, and I think that learning about different holiday traditions is a fantastic way to learn about someone.
This year was slightly different than past years, in that, I now have Agnes to bring along! We double-checked beforehand that dogs were in fact allowed to come, and once we got the go-ahead, Agnes joined the tree team. Christmas tree hunting with a puppy isn’t too different, but there are a few things to check! The tree farm we visit allows dogs to visit as long as they are leashed, and I don’t let Agnes run off-leash so all was well. I wasn’t sure how well she would do, but I really didn’t have anything to worry about at all. I let her sniff to her heart’s content and shove her face into the snow repeatedly (no idea why we love that but we do…), and she was the happiest she has ever been. I did make sure to walk her at home before and carried poop bags with me just in case, but they weren’t needed at all. Thankfully she is a winter westie and loves playing in the snow as much as possible!
There weren’t any sleigh rides this time, but most years there are. (I wouldn’t have done it with Agnes- I don’t know that most dogs would be okay with that.) What I love about most tree farms is that you typically do more than just get a tree and leave; you can go on sleigh rides, visit animals, make cookies, sit by the fire, and pretty much any winter activity possible. In 2018, we don’t often have the time to actually soak things up and enjoy it, and I think that taking some time with your family and friends during this busy time of year. The tree farm we go to has barely any cell phone reception, so it really just is time together.
My dad and I always go wander in the fields to find a smaller tree for the second floor. For my entire life, we have always had two Christmas trees, and they have always been real. I do wonder if part of the reason that I love decorating trees so much is that I’ve always been able to decorate more than one… Our main floor tree is now 10-12 feet, but we are always looking for a standard 5-7 foot tree for upstairs. I’m not much for sawing, so I tend to just help pick the tree and then hold it while he actually cuts it. (I can do a lot of things, but using a saw is not one of them…) This year we decided to change it up and get a Scotch Pine. Scotch Pines are fairly fragrant, and as long as you keep them watered, are fairly hardy once cut down.
We will be decorating the trees on the day that this goes up- I will be updating the post with pictures once we are done, but I will also be sharing some of it on Instagram. I am very particular about decorating Christmas trees. You can’t have too many like ornaments grouped together or else it looks off balance. You also have to make sure breakable and fragile ornaments are placed anywhere on the tree that puppies, cats, or kids might get to them. There can’t be too many lights or too many garlands and you still want to see the actual tree itself. (Maybe I like decorating Christmas trees because my particular-ness can manifest itself in a holiday manner?)
Tip: If you do have animals, let them smell and explore the tree before you actually put it up/decorate it. It won’t stop all animals from exploring, but for many, they just want to know what this strange thing is.
I know that many people are against live Christmas trees because a tree is being cut down. Most farms I have researched plant far more trees than are actually cut down, but I can appreciate the concern. I just learned about Christmas tree rentals, though! You can rent a full-sized life Christmas tree for the holidays and then return it when it is over. How? The trees are entirely grown in large pots! I think it is pretty genius. I am waiting for this to come to Winnipeg, but if it exists in your city or town, please let me know if you have used it.
What are your Christmas tree traditions? And have you gone Christmas tree hunting with a puppy?