One of My Favorite Christmas Memories

So there we were – newly married and living in an apartment furnished only by a mattress on the bedroom floor.

We had no money for lights or other decorations – but, hey, it was Christmas Eve! And we were in the middle of the Rocky Mountains (both of us working toward masters degrees at the University of Idaho). “We are surrounded by evergreens – Christmas trees more magnificent than anything you can buy!” we said. “How hard could it be to chop one of them down?”

We checked to make sure it was legal (it was) – and out we went into the snow, armed with a borrowed ax.

We searched. And we searched. And we searched.

“There’s one!”

We made a beeline for it… only to find, as we approached, that it was at least 20 feet tall.

“There’s a little one over there!”

Again, as we approached, it was enormous.

Finally, we found a “sapling” – barely nine feet.

We hacked it down (and I do mean hacked), tied it to the roof of our VW bug, and triumphantly drove it home.

Once installed in our formerly empty living room, it took on a life of its own. We trimmed it with the strings of popcorn and paper chains and “snowflakes” that we’d learned to make in kindergarten.

It filled the room – literally. And it filled the entire apartment with the fragrance and spirit of Christmas.

January came and went. February came and went. The tree still looked and smelled as fresh as it had the day we dragged it in. (That’s what you get for chopping down your own tree.)

Then it was almost Easter. It made no sense to keep the tree any longer – so, reluctantly, we dragged it to the curb and let it go. And the apartment looked even more empty than it had before.

But I still had – and have – my memories of that tree… and lots of pictures.

[Ed. Note: What’s your favorite holiday memory? Let us know right here.]

Comment on this article

  • Wendy Hosman

    Your story brought back many memories from my time at the University of Idaho and although I never spent Christmas there (I grew up in Southern Idaho) the picture of snow and evergreens around Moscow is a sight I’ll always cherish.

  • alma

    so after struggling to grow about 7-8 years in the wild, the tree died after 3 months in your house.
    great memory!

    next holiday: let’s chop children!

  • This is a great little story. I remember, every year when I was younger, we’d go out & chop down our own live Christmas tree. Now, I’m older & married & my wife is allergic to real trees so we have a fake one. It’s a nice tree, but there’s just something special about going out & chopping one down. You brought back some great memories, & I’m hoping one day, somehow, I’ll be able to experience this event with my children.