I say that because we always had a thermos of hot chocolate each time we went out to find and cut a Christmas tree.
It wouldn't have been right to saw off a cedar without a sip of that steaming liquid, at least we thought it was an integral part of the process.
Actually it became a tradition for us!
We bundled up the girls – it was always cold out – when we trudged off to the hills on our property in search of an appropriate "tanenbaum" for our living room decorations.
It was a jolly time for the four of us, not counting the dog which always tagged along hoping we'd scare up a rabbit or two.
We never could agree on a tree. I would pick one, and Phyllis and the girls would find something wrong with it.
"It isn't shaped right," my all-knowing wife would say. "There's a hole where the branches don't come together," Jan and Jill chimed in, as though they were in cahoots with their mother.
I forgot to tell you we had TWO thermoses. One had peppermint schnapps in it, that's the one I licked my lips for as I selected the first tree which looked okay to me.
It meant I could take a swig of that doctored-up hot chocolate!
As it turned out, I would have to wait, until my harem located a tree they liked. Then we could all celebrate.
That's when I found out why I was along for the adventure. Somebody had to saw down the tree, and I was IT.
The girls always selected one with the biggest trunk, but I dutifully got down on my knees and sawed away.
The cedar tree smelled like a cat litter box for a few days. But we didn't care. We had our tree and that's what mattered. The choice was unanimous (including me) as we treated ourselves from the thermos bottles.
As we dragged our odoriferous prize home through the snow, we sang Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree. (I harmonized at tenor and I thought we sounded like the Trapp Family Singers!)
When we finally forced the branches through the doors at home (they were a lot wider than they seemed), the decorating began. I scratched my hands up putting the lights on. And then came the ornaments. (We only dropped a couple.)
The tinsel and the angel on top finished our job. It was a nice piece of work, if I do say so myself – although the tree still smelled.
By this time the hot chocolate was all gone, but the drama of the incident lingered on.
I decided then that the cocoa – like bells, manger scenes and Tom and Jerries – should be included as a deserving part of our Christmas scene.
After all, the tree-harvesting adventure is a Yuletide point in its favor!
© 2006 Robert F. Karolevitz