Sweet Home New Mexico: Memories mean more than Christmas trees

Christmas will be here in a few days and most of you are probably well on your way to completing your list of yearly traditions.

The first family Christmas tradition we complete is that of putting up our Christmas tree. Growing up in Alabama, I was surrounded by forests of pine trees all around. I don’t remember a year where we didn’t take a saw, cut down our own tree, and drag it home, leaving a trail of pine needles in our wake. As a mother, I can now appreciate all the pine needle messes my own mother cleaned up in the name of us having a memory.

The second Christmas my husband and I were married, we bought a real tree out of a parking lot from the Boy Scouts. Buying our tree out of a parking lot wasn’t exactly the experience I had hoped for for my son’s first Christmas, but we were supporting a good cause, so it was justifiable.

The next Christmas we found ourselves in law school with a 15-month-old toddler and another baby on the way. We went to Wal-Mart and picked out a $30 artificial tree. It saddened me as it was my first artificial tree. My husband and I looked forward to being freed from the grasps of higher education when we would feel like a real Christmas tree would be worth the money we would spend on it, and when we would be around more to enjoy it.

Our first Christmas post-law school, we moved to Clovis two weeks before Christmas. The $30 artificial tree served us well that year, and then went straight into the dumpster. My husband had dreams of trekking to the Lincoln National Forest last year to cut down our tree (which you can do there if you buy a permit), but the reality of a demanding job and three small kids won out, and I wound up buying a Christmas tree from Wal-Mart by myself. Despite that, it was real, it was beautiful, and it smelled like Christmas.

This year our tree came from the tree forest of Lowes. Real Christmas trees make a mess. They are extra work in stringing the lights on yourself, but there are certain memories that are worth the work. To me, having a real Christmas tree is one of them. I hope you are implementing holiday traditions with your family, even if they don’t include the mess of a real tree.

Traditions make memories, and in the end, all we will have when our children are grown and gone are our pictures and memories, so I encourage you to make good ones. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! May the spirit of this joyous season fill you with peace.