It has certainly been a tough year for everyone, including my family. We suffered the immeasurable loss of a close family member to COVID-19, in addition to the daily challenges of juggling homeschooling and attempting to work full-time. It sure hasn’t been easy, and it has certainly taken a toll on us emotionally. We all could use a break from the ongoing circus of our lives right now and get back to the building blocks that strengthen our family bonds and give our children everlasting memories.
The holiday season has always been a special time for our dual-faith family. As my husband’s family is Jewish and my family is Catholic, we make sure we incorporate both faiths by celebrating the holidays with a unique blend of family traditions.
One of our favorite traditions happens the day after Thanksgiving when we all jump in the car and head to northern Westchester to our favorite Christmas tree farm.
Ever since my husband and I have been together, we’ve always “kept it real” when it came to our Christmas/Hanukkah tree. We can’t get enough of the fresh pine scent and love cozying up to the fire and watching the twinkling lights. Our boys have always relished the entire experience and our tradition of getting the tree, decorating it, and celebrating with family around it.
The Christmas tree farm always greets us with the delicious scent of apple cider donuts and freshly cut pines. As we wander through the trees, the boys love seeing the baby trees smaller than them and playing hide and seek among the larger ones. We all start to look for our favorite, and then we vote on which one will land in our home.
Since the pandemic began, our family has been more socially and environmentally conscious, and we do what we can to help the environment and help others. The boys were happy to learn that a new tree would be planted in the place of the tree we choose as “the one.” They hoped that if we could remember the exact spot where we picked it from, they could see how much it has grown every year when we return.
In addition to helping the environment, we are also supporting our local businesses, including the farmers and workers who may have had challenges due to the pandemic.
When the winning tree has been cut, it’s hauled onto the top of our truck for its journey to our home, where it will become the focal point of one of our biggest holiday celebrations and traditions. After it’s set in the stand and the lights have been placed, the kids love going through all the old family heirloom ornaments to make sure every ornament has its place.
The culmination of the holidays for us is on Christmas Day, which falls during Hanukkah on a lucky year. Our entire extended family comes to our home to celebrate together. It’s a day filled with delicious food, festive cheer, and lots of great moments with family eating and chatting under the twinkling lights and warm glow of our beautiful, real holiday tree.
Visit ItsChristmasKeepitReal.com to learn more.
You can enter your zip code to find a real Christmas tree near you. And their interactive map and search filters can help you find a real Christmas tree no matter where you live and like to shop.
Don’t want to go out to shop? Some retailers even offer online sales and home delivery! Use their visual tree guide for a close-up look at the many types of real Christmas trees.