When we moved to Washington, DC, four years ago, Jeff and I left behind a big, beautiful farmhouse we called Barn Swallow Hill. It had well over 200 years of New England charm, and it was the epicenter of many of our holidays. Thanksgiving was our biggest event – with an open-house breakfast for neighbors followed by dinner for 20 or more. At Christmastime, the guest rooms filled with family and friends from all over the country and abroad. Our first Christmas at Barn Swallow Hill, in 2004, Jeff and our good friend Keith simply walked into the back woods and soon emerged with a Christmas tree big enough for all of our ornaments. It was the best tree ever.
Now that we’re in a city that empties out over the holidays, we usually end up sitting near someone else’s tree. This year though, it felt right to go out once again and get one of our own.
Instead of walking into the back woods, we walked a couple of blocks over to the Whole Foods on P Street and gladly gave up $50 for a perfect tree, fresh from Virginia. Jeff carried it home through the unusually quiet streets of DC’s to our home in the historic Logan Circle neighborhood, where we hung every ornament we own on it. Every single one. Even the old ones from our childhoods that are little more than cardboard and tin foil. Our strings of elegant white lights were no longer working, so up went the strings of bulky space-green lights I bought from my days in the Last Green Valley.
This morning, the house smelled of pine, and the tree glowed beautifully (if bright green) in the quiet, pre-dawn hours. It is funky and weird, but I love it.
I have come to learn that the tree you have today– this holiday, where you are now, with the friends and family you love –is, without a doubt, the best tree ever.