We know that Christmas is not far away when the mountains start wearing their little caps of snow. It’s getting closer when snow is lying over the fields and the ponds start freezing over. It’s just around the corner when carols are playing on the radio. But when is the Christmas season finally here? For us, it’s when we bring home the tree.
In Vermont, some of us cut our own, and some buy from farmers who set up little tree lots by the roadside, strung with holiday lights. Either way, we trudge through the deep snow, fortified with a Thermos of cocoa or hot cider, just in case we get a chill from the snow filling our boots.
You never settle for the first nice tree you see. You have to look at a dozen, at least, to find one that’s full, but not so bushy the ornaments won’t hang. By the time you’ve made your choice the sun is slanting down and it’s getting colder fast.
When you arrive back home, the lights in the windows have a welcoming glow, and you realize it must have been the same 100 years ago, coming in from a frosty night with a tree cut from your own wood lot. Pretty soon, it’s set up in the parlor — fresh, cool, and fragrant.
Then the decorations come out. The boxes are battered and dust, but the beloved decorations inside are still shiny and perfect; each one is like unwrapping a memory. Little bells with clapper, paper-mache angels, felt mittens with names written in glitter.
Years later, you may realize that time together, hanging ornaments one by one, is the best part of Christmas. We make Christmas special by making time for it, and for each other. So along with your holiday shopping (and we do hope you do some of that shopping with us) we hope you can make time for an old-fashioned decorating party. It’s a tradition worth preserving.
Wishing you and your loved ones a joyous Christmas,
Gardner, Cabot, Eliot, and Lyman Orton
Proprietors Of The Vermont Country Store