'Tis the season for the Great Christmas Tree Hunt, a yearly escapade that promises festive fun and picture-perfect memories. As a mom of three kids five and under, I've come to realize that the pursuit of the "perfect" memory is a bit like chasing after a candy-cane-striped unicorn – elusive and often covered in glitter glue. Here's my "real" take on what this holiday tradition looks like for our family... and maybe yours too!
1. Choose Your Tradition – With a Dash of Reality: Ah, the romantic idea of a flawless family outing to the tree farm. In reality, it's more like herding sugar-fueled elves through a pine-scented maze. Whether you choose the local tree farm, market, or opt for the "conveniently pre-cut" option, remember that it's all about the build up. Talk about each family member's perfect tree and take extra time to find those details. This year we wanted a tree "bigger than Daddy's arms" so when we found the right one, Daddy had to attempt to hug the tree to measure it and our girls thought it was amazing.
2. Turn Chaos into Cheer: Making a day of the adventure? Pack snacks, hot cocoa, and your favorite holiday tunes, but be prepared for a chorus of "Are we there yet?" and a few spills in the backseat. If you're feeling really optimistic you could fuel them up with a super sticky candy cane (backseats really love those) or you could play it safe and just stick to the Chipmunks Christmas. Because who doesn't want that playing in their head for the next month?
3. Navigating with Mini-Tornados: Trekking through a tree farm with young children can feel a bit like a rough hike. Uneven terrain, rogue pinecones, and the occasional toddler sprint can turn the quest into a scene straight out of a holiday sitcom. Remember, laughter is the best ornament, and the more unexpected the adventure, the more memorable the tale.
4. Safety First – Bubble Wrap Not Included: Choosing a family-friendly tree farm is a must. Watch out for sharp tools, slippery patches, and the occasional grumpy reindeer. Dress your crew in layers and be ready to carry most of them by the end of the day.
5. Capture the Chaos – It's the Good Stuff: Bring a camera, but forget about those Pinterest-worthy moments. Instead, capture the chaos, the laughter, and the unfiltered joy of your little ones discovering the imperfectly perfect tree. I've noticed that videos on my phone tend to be 2 second clips made for reels, but the gold is in the longer shots that capture who my kids are and how they interact with each other. Even if the video ends with crying, its so much better than the quick snapshot captured only for social media.
In the end, the pursuit of the "perfect" Christmas memory is a bit like trying to catch snowflakes – delightful, a little messy, and wonderfully unique. So, moms and dads, let's trade perfection for laughter, chaos for cheer, and embrace the beautifully imperfect memories we're creating with our ever-growing, ever-rambunctious holiday squad. Because, really, the perfect memories are the ones that involve all of us as we are- a Christmas adoring, nature-loving family mess.