Today, after Anders and the kids got back from the Scout Christmas party, we went tree-hunting. Up in Odarslöv, we turned in at a gravel road to follow a sign, block-lettered in black on a sawhorse: Julgranar till självhuggning (Christmas trees for self-sawing...self-cutting? self-chopping!). They were very fine trees, and several were that particular silvery blue that reminds me of, but isn't, blue Spruce. However, after a brief walk around the small lot, we came to the conclusion that despite their finery, there were none that were OURS. They were too big, too tall, too skinny, not right. We did pick up a small one for the playroom tree though, to the kids' delight. (We have 2 trees! A tree in the playroom! Doesn't that sound like something out of a British kidlit book? Where's my figgy pudding??)
Then we headed up the hill to Dalby's Tree Nursery, where we have been lucky the last several years, in the acres and acres of trees. This year, we were even luckier, when a tree that was near the beginning of the walk up the hill, right on the side of the road, leaped out at me, and said, "ME! TAKE ME! I'm perfect!" I stood and looked at it for a bit, and asked Anders what he thought, and then decided, rather callously, that I couldn't just take the first tree that professed to be OURS and I turned my back and we went on. But you know, I kept looking back as we walked. Was it a little too yellow? A little too skinny? How could we have missed it the last few years if it really was as perfect as it professed to be?
We turned off through the bent wet grasses, on a little trail into the center of a tree lot, surrounded by tall kungagranar, otherwise known as Nordmann Firs. They have flattened needles, shiny and very dark green above, a silvery blue below. I found them referred to as the "rolls-royce" of Christmas trees when I searched for them online. Funny, because when we first moved to Sweden, I was appalled at the "charlie brown-ness" of the typical Swedish Christmas trees...they have very defined "layers" of branches and consequently look a bit sparse inbetween, and when you are used to the more typical bushy-looking trees like we used to get in the States, they just look ridiculous. :) They DO show off ornaments quite nicely, though.
Anyway, after only a few meters of walking and searching and staring down each tree, I could still hear that first one calling me. Anders was behind me, the orange saw hanging from one hand, the kids were galloping ahead zigzagging through the grove, looking for a place to have a hideout. "I don't know," I said as I slowed to a halt, "...that first one was pretty good, wasn't it?" Anders agreed that it was. I hollered for the kids and back we went to stand in front of it again. I walked to one side and then to the other. It wasn't too skinny, although it was a bit on the yellower side. It didn't have any noticeable "holes" and the top looked like it wouldn't need any surgery. "Were you right here last year?" I murmured to it, but my voice blew away over the trees. We brought it home and gave it water. It goes up tomorrow and gets lights, and we'll spend the rest of the week decorating both of them, the big and the small.
On the way home, we stopped at the post office to pick up the parcel for which we'd received a notice on Friday. It was from my grandmother: 3 containers of her unbeatable delicious taste-of-home-and-childhood gingerbread cookies! Nothing says Christmas to me like my grandma's gingerbread cookies. :) C'mon Santa, I'm nearly ready!
For my sister, whose heart is hurting: Rest in Peace, Gizmo