We had an artificial tree our first year of married life, but then, what did we know?  The first year of marriage is a time of negotiation and adjustment–and no more so than at the holidays, attempting to meld two traditions into one.  But, on one issue, we both came to a quick agreement.  Every Clemens Christmas thereafter, the family tree would be REAL.

The Fragrance of Christmas!

The type of fresh tree we chose changed with experience.  Long-needles were soft, but hard to decorate.  Pines were nice and often less expensive, but had little fragrance.  We finally compromised on the Fraser fir, what I call the King of the Christmas tree forest!  They exude the smell of Christmas past and have needles that do not shed easily.

The size of our trees changed with the size of the house.  In our first little country ranch, Hubby tried squeezing in 8 foot trees, leaving sap marks on the ceiling.  When we moved into our restored barn 7 years ago, flight took fancy.  We now have 10 foot fresh Frasers standing in the center of the great room each season, and the one for 2009 is gloriously full and seasonally fragrant!
As we age, I think our trees will begin to get smaller and perhaps be erected mid December rather than week one.  We may even resort to an artificial tree–pre-lit for convenience…but I hope that will be later than sooner.  Decorating the family tree fresh from northern woods is a tradition we hope to cherish for many years to come.
“O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, how lovely are your branches…”

About Sharon L. Clemens

Sharon and husband Merle and their children owned and operated a specialty shop and restaurant in a restored dairy barn for thirteen years in a village in Illinois. After closing their restaurant, they converted the barn into the family home and moved their shop to the garden level. They operated a collectable shop as a home-based business for another thirteen years before retiring to the country life. Sharon has been a special feature guest on the local NBC telelvision affiliate and has spoken professionally on topics relating to herb gardening and cottage lifestyle. In addition to conducting workshops and programs, Sharon writes a weekly cottage lifestyle e-newsletter called “Cottage Chat” and a Word Press blog: Seasons of Farm Grove. She has written five novels, The Younger Girl, Door County Cottage, Timeless-A Door County Love Story, Door County Cabin and Door County Escape, love stories with traditional values set in Door County, Wisconsin.
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