Holiday Traditions New and Old

Holidays are for spending time with family and celebrating with traditions. I’m with Jules at and her letter Dear Retailers. The stores start putting up Christmas stuff in July or August. UGH! Even my favorite radio station converts to Christmas only music the week before Thanksgiving Week. Double UGH!

For me, Christmas starts after Thanksgiving is over. But before I get into some of our Christmas traditions, let me share with you a new Thanksgiving tradition we started this year.

My youngest sister Beth mailed us some paper leaves. She included a note with instructions to write what we’re thankful for this year and to sign and date it. We were then to mail them in an enclosed envelope to Mama. Beth had already mailed Mama hers with instructions that she’s supposed to hang the leaves on our new “Thanksgiving Tree”. I LOVED the idea!!!

I had hoped to start it with my in-laws, but couldn’t find any leaf die-cuts to take with us to their house for Thanksgiving. I plan on doing this every year. It will be great to see the trees leaves each year.

One of our Christmas traditions is that each year we go buy our Christmas tree on Thanksgiving weekend. For many years we’ve driven to the 75 acre Sleighbells Christmas Tree Farm and Giftshop in Sherwood, Oregon. This year was no exception. If you’re in the Portland area and have never been there. It’s worth the drive, here are their hours.

We choose to pick out our own tree and then have it cut down. We walked around a lot and finally found just the right one. Unlike many, we look for a tree that has a “hole” in it. We have a large glass Santa ornament that I like to stick inside the hole. We also choose a Grand Noble which has separation between the branch rows. That way you can see our ornaments.

Just as we found our tree, one of the tree cutters walked up and asked if we need help cutting it down. We said, “Yep. Thanks!”

Here you can see the guy cutting away (ours is the middle one)… see the hole in on the left towards the bottom?

Well, while he cut our tree down, we took some family pictures. The Offspring and Hubby

…then The Offspring insisted I get in front of the camera for a change…

See my furry scarf… that’s hand-knitted… (remember my post Semi-Lost Art and Homemade Gifts. The Offspring made that one for me.)

One thing I really like about Sleighbells is that at each location a tree is cut down, they plant a new tree…

When the guy was finished, he drug our tree to the road and a truck picked it up and they took it down to shake and bale it.

After he was done, we went down to the gift shop and bought some handmade fudge and looked at University of Oregon ornaments. Since The Offspring was able to attend one of the Duck football games, she chose this one…

Hubby got her this one, too.

When we got home, we cut the bottom off the tree because it didn’t have a straight cut. 🙁 This isn’t unusual, but the guy had told us they’d straighten it when it was baled. I guess they forgot. Since it wasn’t straight, we had to cut it more (NOT an easy task as our saw was DULL). We then immediately got it into water.

This year, their “shaking” didn’t get rid of as many of the loose needles as in the past. In fact, this was the worst year ever. Several branches had dried needles and it caused a lot to drop on the floor.

So I had a lot more to vacuum up… Because of the dry needles within the tree, I actually decided to vacuum the tree itself! LOL!

Don’t believe me? Never heard of anyone vacuuming a tree… well, The Offspring took these as proof! LOL!

Here is the first bit I ended up vacuuming up from the floor and from the tree! This isn’t all of it though…

… I had to empty it and then had two more with this much in it…

That’s the worst we’ve ever had. Admittedly, I was a disappointed, but we will likely go back next year because it is a tradition. Note to self, make sure to make sure they’ve shaken it really good and that the cut is straight.

We’re waiting to put our ornaments on until The Offspring comes homes next week for Winter Break. I’ll have more photos to show you then.

What holiday traditions do you have?