Tag Archives: christmas tree

Trans-Siberian Twin Adventure

Tonight I introduced the twins to live Trans-Siberian Orchestra music, sort of. Well, it was live, and captured on video and uploaded to YouTube. Continue reading

Another Use For Our Christmas Tree

This afternoon I spent three or so hours outside. It was cold I suppose, it did get up to 24 (F) degrees though. My first goal was to repurpose our Christmas tree which I put outside yesterday. Actually, before I spent any time on the tree I started a fire in the fire pit because I knew there was a chance I’d get chilled. Then I set the tree the way I wanted it, leaning against the oak stumps.

Next I went to our freezer and retrieved the home made suet I made from left over fat from a large ham we had several months ago. I used a bag that formally held some Clementines and placed the suet in the netted bag. Now the suet hangs from the old tree as the tree leans against and old stump. The idea being that the suet will provide food for birds that may otherwise be hard pressed to find food during the winter months.


The fire was warm and helped to take some of the chill out of me

Then the tree itself, it’s needled branches, and the cavity of space along the ground, beneath the lean, will create some shelter for some smaller birds as well. I look forward to seeing some birds out there soon.

My Christmas Eve Memory

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Christmas Tree 2013

This is our Christmas tree, the Griswold 2.0 (squirrel not included). I am in the background, holding up the tree. I am pretty small so the tree looks large.

This is our Christmas tree, the Griswold 2.0 (squirrel not included). I am in the background, holding up the tree. I am pretty small so the tree looks large.

The family is involved, decorating this monster tree.

The family is involved, decorating this monster tree. It was awesome to see the excitement in the kids as they worked together on decorating the tree. I love it and hope they never lose the joy.

Night falls, the lights on the tree are the only lights powered on in the family room. Okay, it's a huge tree, some 9 1/2 feet tall. It means more room for the kids' presents I guess.

Night falls, the lights on the tree are the only lights powered on in the family room. Okay, it’s a huge tree, some 9 1/2 feet tall. It means more room for the kids’ presents I guess. Merry Christmas!

Capturing Christmas Trees

This past Saturday we went to a friend’s house in Bow, NH to get our Christmas Tree. We got the tree in exchange for some help with other trees and the promise of some future help with work around her property. This truly is a Griswold-esque tree. It measured 12 feet tall, had a bird’s nest in it, has it’s own pine cones, and was at least 7 feet across the base branches. Naturally, that is the tree we chose. The boys did the work on this one. It wasn’t as easy as pulling into a lot, picking a tree, bagging it, and having it tied on the top of the vehicle, but I wouldn’t trade it for a second.

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The boys work on bringing down the tree. To be honest, all three of us took turns under the spread of branches, some there to work, others for fun, and because they could.

Mixed Comments II

This morning Theodore walked up to me and said, “I be sick and tired. I just want to take a nap.” Then he laid down on the cold hardwood floor, just for a moment though.

Jacqueline, upon looking at our Christmas tree which still stands because the kids love it so much, “Dad, look at the Christmas tree, it’s so beautiful. And it’s kind and gentle.”

Theodore and Jacqueline, both were asking for a kids movie, so I let them pick one out. As they loaded the DVD, Theodore said, “this is the one I want.” The DVD started. Jacqueline says to me, “Dad, watch this part. Look at all the lights. It’s a kids movie, so it’s okay. You can go now.”

13 Days to Christmas, Where’s your Christmas Spirit?

We are just 13 days from Christmas and here in New Hampshire the sun is shining, the grass glistens as the frost covered blades reflect the low morning sun. The temperature outside was 20 degrees when I came downstairs this morning. The air is crisp, it’s clear, and all is still as the sun climbs to its short-lived perch in the late autumn sky. This time of the year the sun only gets so high in the sky. The temperatures warm for a short time before falling as quickly as the sun darts to the afternoon horizon. The sun’s lower position in the sky exposes every imperfection, smudge, or collection of dirt on windows everywhere. The angles of sunlight throughout each day are different from any other time of the year. The sun doesn’t wander too far from the horizon in the weeks leading to Christmas. We are only a week or so away from the official start of winter and after a very mild November, the air is starting to feel like winter.

The daylight is shorter everyday. Darkness comes early and often. This is fitting I think as the shorter daylight hours prompt more time to bask in the glow of the Christmas lights. To me, there’s no light like the light coming from the Christmas tree, or the candles in the windows. Somehow it is warmer, somehow it’s right. And even though it’s not too bright, it is just the perfect sight. Sitting in a Christmas tree lit room just seems warm and calm, no matter the tempest outside. It’s 13 days to Christmas, there are no presents under our tree just yet. As a matter of fact we don’t have the tree completely decorated yet. We do have lights on it though.

The twins seem to like all the Christmas lights both in the house and in the neighborhoods we drive through each week. They immediately noticed the little village we have started on the mantle of our fireplace (propane lit). They love when we plug in the lights to the little buildings once night falls. Their wide eyes sparkle as they look from the village to the tree and back. Maybe the lights sparkling in their innocent, clear blue eyes, are my favorite this Christmas.

It’s just 13 days to Christmas and then the day of our Lord’s birth will be done. The day will be done but the meaning will remain. The spirit of Christmas need not depart, but I am afraid it will. I think more folks should try the Christmas Spirit on for size and wear it for more than a few hours each year. I define the Christmas Spirit something like this. The focus on others starting with Thanksgiving and running until New Year’s where many people transform to a more selfless, more friendly, more kind, and generally much nicer version of themselves. People give. People assist one another. People give of themselves and their blessings. People are nicer and maybe just a little slower to ire. People look past the otherwise mundane tasks of daily life and participate in them with a spring in their step and a song in their hearts. Well maybe not that last one but it would be nice. So if many can grin and bear it for a couple of weeks, or a couple of days, or even for a couple of hours, then why not make this last. As TSO sings every year in their Christmas show … If our kindness; This day is just pretending; If we pretend long enough; Never giving up; It just might be who we are (at 4:25) … if we can do it once, we can do it for always.

So why doesn’t it last? There’s just 13 days left until Christmas 2011. Where is your Christmas Spirit? Many would say there’s only 13 days left!!!! I will never get everything done! Others may say, good, I can’t wait for it to be over. I say, enjoy the moments, be present in each of them. Presents under the tree are nice, they have their value, but being present in each moment is priceless.

Get lost in the Christmas Spirit. As your body rushes through the next baker’s dozen cluster of days keep your mind focused on the Christmas Spirit I have defined here. Christmas Spirit doesn’t rush, it hurries not, it’s always at just the right speed. The pace is consistently correct for there is no time limit on selflessness. There is no rushing a thought of what can I do to help someone else. There is only time where mind and body come together in harmony while focused on something or someone bigger than themselves. Some how we will find the time to be the selfless person we aim to be in this season, there’s always time for that. Come to think of it, there’s no reason for this thought process or approach to life to go away in December either. I mean what better way to start 2012 than with a transformation to full-time Christmas Spirit.

The snow may not be falling yet. There is green grass in plain sight. Winter is still around the corner. There’s only 13 days left until Christmas. By late afternoon the sky is dark as night. The temperatures dip below freezing each night. It really is Christmas time. The lights are hung everywhere. Crowds shop at stores and malls. Trains take a temporary place closer to our hearts. Christmas cards come in the mail. Christmas music plays at every turn. Where’s your Christmas Spirit?

Maybe, take a morning walk. Feel the crisp air challenge your lungs for the next breath. Notice the sparkle of ice crystals that catches your eye as your gaze sweeps the calm early morning landscape. Follow the cloud your breath makes until it fades away. Think back on your favorite Christmas memories. Why is it a favorite, was it your mindset at that time, or was it someone else’s generous act that takes you there? Ask yourself, Am I the man/woman I want to be? Am I all I can be, not just today, but everyday? Be honest. Let your mind fill with the dozens or more thoughts that almost instantaneously battle for your conscious focus if you are being true to yourself. It’s just you out there, walking on your own, getting down to the core of you. Don’t be afraid. I mean, God is there too, He is always there, whether you are alone or not, so just let it flow. Don’t forget to watch your step as you let these thoughts flow over you like the warmth you feel when you are the reason for someone else’s joy. Lose yourself in the feeling, the moment. Vow to be somehow different this Christmas; to be better, the person you want to be, as you expose your deepest, most vulnerable core. It should be OK. If others in your life might disapprove of this new vow you found inside yourself in the quiet of the morning, then perhaps the time has come to take a personnel inventory. Or at least recognize that the people in your past or present may not belong in your future. We can talk about that another time. Before you go back inside, index the thoughts that flooded your mind and battled for precedence. Promise yourself you will be different somehow. Different in the ways you only know you can be. And, yes, you can be. There’s only 13 days to Christmas, and tomorrow morning makes 12, Where’s your Christmas Spirit?