Keeping family traditions during Christmas

by Rebecca Young

Growing up in my home Christmas was a very special and beloved time for our family. There was always an abundance of homemade Christmas cookies that my mother would spend hours preparing. My three younger brothers and I would deliver tins to several families in our neighborhood. Sometimes we would complain about doing this because of how snowy or cold it was but my mother insisted we do it anyways because Christmas was also a time for spreading joy to others. Nothing said holiday cheer like homemade fudge and chocolate covered peanut butter balls. The neighbors were always delighted to have us four showing up at their doorsteps. Mothers do a lot of work during these times and often aren’t acknowledged or thanked for their efforts nearly enough. My father would always take my brothers and I into town on Christmas Eve to pick out something special for mom.

I don’t know how many candles and pot holders that woman has unwrapped under the Christmas tree in the past 20 years. I do know she treasured every one of them. My favorite of all the Christmas traditions I grew up with was decorating our home. We had a huge box full of ornaments that we would go through as a family and place around the Christmas tree, a porcelain nativity scene that we kept on top of the piano and a silly old battery- operated wreath that would light up and sing Christmas songs when you walked by. To this day the wreath still sings and ironically enough, my own children have become entirely captivated by it, just as I was at their age. As a mother I hope I can keep these traditions alive and maybe start a few new ones along the way.

The Magic of a Real Wreath

By Holly Scudero

Growing up, we always had an artificial tree for Christmas. Always. I didn’t really even know real trees were a thing until I was in middle school at least, and even then, I didn’t see the appeal. For our family, there was something special about the process of the artificial tree: pulling the branches down, “fluffing” them, doing our best to make the tree look natural and real. And then, of course, decorating it.

An artificial tree meant decorating for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving, and leaving everything up until the day after New Year’s. And that is something you can’t do with a “real” tree.

My husband, on the other hand, grew up with real trees. Their tradition involved going to the local tree lot a week or so before Christmas and finding that perfect tree. Not too big, not too small. The right spread of branches, the right height, the perfect fit for their living room.

And the smell. Oh, that smell. For my husband, it’s not quite Christmas without that fresh scent of pine.

In our married life, we have ultimately settled down with a nice artificial tree–I won that debate. Artificial trees don’t involve cutting down a tree every year. They make significantly less mess. We only had to buy it once. And we can leave it up for weeks.

The only thing that’s been missing is that fresh pine smell.

And that’s where new Christmas traditions come into play. This last year, our Christmas decor had an addition: a fresh, beautifully-made pine wreath. Hanging from a door in the living room, it added that touch of fresh forest scent our home needed for it to truly feel like Christmas.

We had always talked about doing this, but last winter was the first time we actually had one on display. And honestly, I don’t know how we have managed so long without a wreath. Winter just felt more like winter. Christmas felt more like Christmas. Next year, buying a wreath will be at the top of my holiday shopping list.

Holly Scudero is a mom of two and a wife of ten years currently living in Virginia. Her writing about family, food, and home has appeared in Natural Mother Magazine, City Book Review, Parent Co., VegNews, and other venues.

Sustainable Harvest Practices

At Alpine Farms we earn our living just as a farmer would, by harvesting plant material from the land, so sustainable harvesting practices are very important to us. We appreciate and respect the bounty of the earth. The jobs we generate help sustain our economy, and our products enable repeated traditions that build healthy and happy families.

Wreath Bough Harvest:

  • Boughs are harvested by “tipping”, or pruning mature trees, no trees are cut down in the harvesting process.
  • The pruning process improves overall forest health by encouraging further growth, and increasing airflow and sun light access.
  • Our Noble fir boughs are harvested high in the Cascade Mountains near the foothills of Mount Rainier. We also harvest Noble boughs from overgrown Christmas tree plantations once the snow load prevents mountain access.
  • The other bough materials are harvested throughout Washington, Oregon and Idaho in the same sustainable manor.