COLUMN: Creating new Christmas traditions

Blogger Pauline Buck describes her family's tradition of finding the perfect Christmas tree.

by Pauline Buck, Contributor

There’s nothing like the honest , shoot-from-the-hip way little boys tell you how they feel about something.  And if the little boys happen to be your grandsons, it’s even better.

My husband Bill and I are heading into our fourth Christmas in Abbotsford. In August 2008, when most of our near-retirement friends were downsizing, we left our 1600 sq. ft. condo in Vancouver to move into a 3000 sq. ft. house on five acres of farmland in Abbotsford. (Talk about upsizing!)

There were two key reasons we decided to forego city life to become urban farmers. And they both live down the street with our daughter and her husband. Our grandsons were 4 and 5 when we moved here and my “grandmother hormones” were going crazy. The only cure was daily hugs.

Our first Christmas on the farm we didn’t have a Christmas tree. We were renovating.

Christmases two and three were another story.  I was so excited to be living “out in the country” that I wanted everything we did to be old-fashioned traditional.  And as for the Christmas tree, no artificial or parking-lot tree for us. We were going to select our own tree right from the source.

In light of the fact that neither Bill nor I had ever cut down a tree in our lives, we opted to visit a beautiful Christmas tree lot slightly off the beaten path where families have the choice to  cut their own trees or purchase lovely cultured ones that had been pruned to look “designer-tradition.”

The day we chose was perfect: clear, sunny and cold with just a sprinkling of snow on the ground. We picked up the kids and made our way to Christmas wonderland. Carols and Santa songs were playing through all the tree lots; the aroma of hot chocolate and apple cider mingled with the scents of pine and cedar boughs; blowup Santas made great props for pictures, and candy canes were available at every refreshment station.

While Bill and I selected a beautiful tree, the boys ran around the property sampling all the hot chocolate and candy canes they could find. Then we all carried our Christmas tree to the van and headed home with strains of Bing Crosby’s White Christmas ringing in my head.

Last year, we repeated  our new tradition with slightly different results. The day was pouring rain and windy. The cold blew right through us as we clambered out of the van. Our hats and scarves were hard pressed to stay on, and our coats were soaked through in minutes. The boys ran straight for the hot chocolate, and Bill and I made the fastest tree transaction we could manage. Is it green? Does it stand up? We’ll take it. Then we played the “senior” card so the young guys who worked there would carry the tree to our vehicle.

A couple of weeks ago when I was at the Co-op buying food for the chickens (we’ve got this farm-thing down pat now) I saw very real-looking artificial trees on sale for a terrific price. I wanted to get one but was worried what the kids would say. Nanny and Grampa had started the great tradition of the family outing to select a tree. What would they think if we wimped out?

So I sat them down, explained  we were thinking of getting an artificial tree, which would mean we wouldn’t be going out to the Christmas Tree lot this year and what did they think?

Their quick response? “Can we still have hot chocolate?”

My immediate reply: “You bet!”

And so a new Nanny and Grampa Christmas tradition was born.

Pauline Buck is a local blogger who writes on urban/rural living topics.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Motorists were ‘driving like their own Indy 500’ before fatal Abbotsford crash, court hears

Family member declares defence request for 90-day jail sentence a ‘joke’

Abbotsford Panthers win EVAA title

Abby senior boys defeat Yale Lions 90-79 on Sunday to capture banner

Abbotsford athletes earn medals at BC Winter Games

Gymnasts, judo competitors big local winners at Fort St. John event

Surge in Fraser Health home-care complaints concerns seniors advocate

Number of people complaining about home care has risen substantially over the last four years

Mission MLA Simon Gibson appointed Assistant Deputy Speaker

Gibson will now preside over daily sessions of the House, when the Deputy Speaker or Speaker is away

VIDEO: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%

Chief coroner says figures were down about a third in the province’s fourth year of the opioid crisis

UPDATE: Protesters dismantle blockade on Maple Ridge tracks

West Coast Express train service is expected to run again Tuesday morning

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

Man pleads guilty to stabbing woman, off-duty cop outside North Delta elementary school

The suspect, whose name is under a publication ban, faced 10 charges in relation to this incident

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Royals, Elvis, Captain Cook: Hundreds of wax figures find new life in B.C. man’s home

Former director of Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum still hopes to revive wax figure tourism

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Most Read