Describe your best holiday memory.
Brenda starting off the week.
I've got so many lovely memories linked to Christmas that it's difficult to pick just one. However, some of my favourite recollections have to do with the Christmas tree.
I grew up in Terrace Bay, a small Northwestern Ontario town -- 2000 people -- nine miles from the next town to the west and 60 miles to the next town in the east. We were surrounded by woods and water, the town built on a glacial terrace a distance above the shores of Lake Superior.
A few weeks before Christmas every year, we'd set out, often in caravan-formation with another family in their own car, and drive aways down the highway until somebody decided to pull over. We'd all then begin combing through the woods, looking for the perfect tree. This could take hours and I remember being very cold on occasion. Dad would also pick out three trees for the front yard (he called the three wise guys), and these would be lit up with multicolour outdoor lights. I should add that there was nowhere to buy a tree and nobody, but nobody, had an artificial one.
Jump ahead to my married life in Ottawa. When our two girls were younger, we would pile into my husband's truck and drive out of the city to a tree farm where Ted and I would troop through the 'woods' to find the perfect tree. We'd bring along some magic carpets or a toboggan for the girls to slide down the slope nearer to the entrance while we carried on our search. Not nearly as wild as going into the deep woods of my childhood, but these aren't available in the populated south. On the way home, we'd stop in one of the villages to have hot chocolate at the Bide A Wee restaurant. We looked forward to this outing every year, and it really was a highlight of the season.
Now, Ted drives to a local farmers' market and buys a tree that I decorate with ornaments that we've collected over our lifetimes. I have a few from my own childhood and ones that our daughters made. Many come from friends whom I think of each time I pull an ornament out of its box. We place the same angel on top even though she's lost her halo, and every year I suggest buying a star topper, and every year Ted vetoes the idea. We string only blue lights on the tree, a nod to my indoor childhood Christmas trees.