Personal Days: The Beck Christmas Trees

I love the way our house looks during Christmas.

Our family tradition has always been to go get a live Christmas tree on the Friday after Thanksgiving. We usually go at night before or after dinner. The four of us drive to Lowe's and pick out a six-foot Noble fir. I pull the trees out of the stalls and then spin them around for Jana, Brenden and Aidan to inspect.

We then get a few inches cut off the stump so the tree can drink. We buy some tree food. Then we head on home. Once at home I get out the stand and we all work to get the tree standing upright and vertical. And then we let the tree rest for a day so the branches can relax.

Then on Saturday we put the lights and decorations on. All in time for the first Sunday of Advent.

We actually have two trees. The natural tree goes in our living room and it's Jana's tree to decorate. She's sort of a Christmas tree artist in this regard. All through the day on Saturday she'll look at the tree, like a painter staring at a blank canvas. She's pondering color schemes and ornament themes. Inspiration hits and then she starts to decorate once I put on the lights.

So our tree looks different every year, which is one of the things I love, how each year and each tree is unique. This year Jana said, "I want to make a fun tree." So a big red bow went on top, accented by a peppermint candy striped ribbon.

Our second tree is an artificial tree and it's in the family room. Brenden and Aidan are in charge of decorating this tree. This is the tree that has all their special ornaments. Ornaments we've given them--a fish ornament for Brenden because he likes to fish, a Dr. Who ornament for Aidan when he was really into the show--along with the ornaments they made as children over the years.

Ornaments special to family and marital trips go on the natural tree. There we have ornaments from England and Jersey--Hello, friends! An ornament from the White House when we toured it in 2008 after Obama won his historic election. An Elvis ornament from a trip to Graceland. An ornament from Hawaii.

And a very special ornament: a ribbon flower from our wedding.

Both trees are filled with memories.

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