(Picture stolen from Liz)
Eight cousins stared up up up at the tall evergreen trying to see the star on top.
“Can we turn on the lights?” Constance said itching her nose. Her frog umbrella, better known as her umbrella cannon, lay on the floor beside her.
“Yes, can we?” Bruce asked pulling his silly lumberjack hat off.
“Of course,” Grammie said. “Ready Aunt Abby?”
“Ready,” Aunt Abby said from behind the tree. She fiddling for a few moments and then Suddenly! beautiful lights lit up the tree. They sparkled and gleamed.
“Ohhhh!” the eight cousins said together.
“Hey look,” Aunt Abby said, “we didn’t have to use gloves to decorate the tree.”
“Why would you need gloves to decorate the tree?” Jules said.
“Well, when me and your Uncle Matt, Aunt Em, Uncle Jason, and Aunt Liz where kids we had to go cut down our own Christmas tree.”
“You did?” Joshua said.
“It didn’t come out of a box?” said Ellie.
“Nope. It came out of a field. It came out of Great Gran’s field.”
“Great Gran’s field?” Jude said. “Great Gran doesn’t have a field.”
“She doesn’t any more, but long, long ago, when the five of us were all little kids, Great Gran had a huge field. Many many times bigger than Grammie and Grandpa’s field. And that’s where we got our Christmas trees.”
“How?” said Imogene.
“Come on, let’s get some eggnog and I’ll tell you.”
The eight cousins gathered around the tree each with a cup filled with sweet eggnog. The Christmas lights twinkled and the decorations sparkled.
Once upon a time, Grammie sent the Five brothers and sisters out to Great Gran’s pasture with a saw.
“What’s a saw?” Rook asked.
“It’s a tool to cut wood.”
The Five brothers and sisters bundled up in sweaters, scarves, gloves, and rubber boots. They hiked up the hill to the gate taking Heidi their dog with them. Passing through the gate, they decided to go to the very back of the pasture to find the perfect Christmas tree.
Pretty evergreens with long needles didn’t grow in the pasture, itchy sharp cedar trees did. That was just fine with the Five kids. Cedar trees looked like Christmas trees and smelled like Christmas trees. That was all that mattered to them.
With Matt in the lead, they hiked up hills, down hills, past several cow ponds, past the ravine where there was lots of interesting trash, over a stream where Heidi found something to sniff, and out into the back pasture. They loudly sang Christmas carols as they hiked starting with Jingle Bells and finishing with Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.
In the back pasture, cedar trees grew everywhere. The Five kids made their way through the sharp and sticky branches. First, Emily found a tree, but it was too skinny. Abby found one next, but it had strange branch coming out the back. Jason found one, but a close inspection reviled a brown spot on the back. Liz liked the short round one, but Matt said it was too short.
They kept looking. Christmas depended on the perfect tree and they didn’t give up easily.
Deeper and deeper into the cedar trees they hunted still singing Christmas carols. A cotton-tailed rabbit rushed away from their noise and a hawk watched them from high in the sky.
“Look!” said Liz.
The four old siblings turned and saw the perfect tree. It was tall but not too tall, green all the way around, round but tapering to a perfect point for Auntie Janet’s angel.
“It’s perfect,” Abby said.
The others agreed. Matt took the saw, while the girls held the branches carefully back, and cut it down.
“Timber!” shouted Jason as the tree fell over.
The Five kids hefted it up on their shoulder and took the easiest path home with no barbed-wire fences to cross.
Reaching their house, they carried the tree to Grandpa to let him set it in the tree stand. It stood straight and true as they carried it in the living room.
“Get your gloves,” Grammie said.
Donning their gloves, the Five brothers and sisters decorated the itchy, pointy Christmas tree with lights, and all their favorite candy canes, sleds, Santas, reindeer, and snowmen. Matt, being the tallest, put Auntie Janet’s angel on the top to finish it off.
“And that’s how we used to get our Christmas trees,” Aunt Abby said drinking the last of her eggnog.
“Aunt Abby, did you live in the olden days?” Jules asked.
“Yes Julie-bear, before internet, in the olden ’80s and 90’s.”
“Wow. You’re really old,” Bruce said.
“Thank you, Bruce.”
“Are you older than 19?” Jules asked.
Aunt Abby laughed. “Aren’t we telling Christmas stories?”
“Yes, tell us another Christmas story.”
“How about the time we lit the backyard on fire on Christmas eve?”
“Yes! I like fire,” Bruce said.
“Me too,” Constance said.
Aunt Abby settled back to tell more stories about many magical Christmases long long ago.
Rook, the pumpkin!
Jude, the puppy!
Ellie, the Fairy, Jules, the Princess, Imogene, the Owl, Bruce, the Ghost, and Aunt Abby as Ichabod Crane.