Posted by: Morgan | December 31, 2010

We found Christmas!

A couple weeks ago I wrote about becoming determined to bring Christmas into our little home in some way. That evening I sat down and pulled out our huge box of construction paper, with the thought that we could do some arts-n-crafts time to make free decorations as well as get Emma involved in something creative. I even took pictures while we were busy making a Christmas-y paper chain and construction paper stockings, for the purpose of writing a cute little blog post about our great creativity. Long story short, Emma wasn’t super interested in being creative. She enjoyed ripping the paper chain twice and pulling my pieced together paper stockings apart before the glue dried. I set it all aside to finish at a later time that, with two children and my husband out of town for three days the week before Christmas, never came into my life.

So there we sat, the morning of Christmas eve, with Caleb having gotten home late the night before, wondering if we were going to have any type of Christmas afterall. He needed to run some paperwork by his workplace and his mom asked us to pop by and watch Caleb’s sisters for a little bit, so we loaded up for an hour or two out of the house. I also had a coupon at JoAnn Fabrics and wanted to buy some fabric to make a wetbag, so it seemed like it would be a nice errand day. Bad time management, combined with everyone but me ending up taking a long nap, led to us getting to JoAnn Fabrics around 5pm. Seeing as we had nothing Christmas-y yet, the 70% signs all over the Christmas merchandise pulled me closer and closer. We decided to buy four tiny stockings (ended up at $.49 each!), a pack of candy canes, two feather boas as gifts for Caleb’s sisters, the zippers and fabric I needed to make the wetbag, and the four ornaments for our yearly family tradition. Here is a look at our little stash when we got home:

I also decided that the best way to  start building my Christmas decor, finally, was to pick one type of item and just start a collection. Slightly because I was inspired by Katie’s little obsession with cone-shaped trees over at Bower Power, and slightly because I had no interest in having a collection of snowmen, Santas, elves or those little snow-covered ceramic houses, I went with Christmas trees. This little wooden tree was around a dollar after the 70% discount and it seemed like a good little token to represent my new collection:

Isn’t it too cute? I thought it looked perfect with our frames and made me feel very festive, even though it was just a little tiny change.

Speaking of Christmas trees, my story of Christmas Eve continues once we left JoAnn Fabrics. Across the road was a farmer’s market with lots of beautiful trees creating a little forest under the big canvas tent. We happened to have a five-dollar bill from a refund we got at JoAnns (the new girl retroactively gave us an additional discount because of my coupon, then realized she wasn’t supposed to, but didn’t ask for it back), so we decided to see if I could haggle a tree off the lot for $5. I jumped out of the car, where Emma was sleeping and Caleb was trying to keep Logan calmed down, and hopped over to meet the bundled market-man walking out to the tree lot. I said I was looking for something smaller and he brought me over to a lovely 5′ Frazier fir tree. It was so perfect. I grinned at him, did a little skip and said “Ok! I’ll give you five dollars for it!”. As I expected, my offer was met with a smile and a look of disbelief. I was informed he had just sold the tree beside it for $25. I kept at it, still grinning and being quite cute (if I do say so myself), bringing up the point that it was 5:30 on Christmas Eve and whatever would he do with the remaining trees? Apparently, I found out, fish farmers buy them after Christmas to dump into their ponds for the fish to swim around. I couldn’t battle with fish farmers, so I thanked him and said we were off to find a free tree at Lowe’s or WalMart. He smiled, mentioned he didn’t even know there was such a thing as free trees, and that he just couldn’t sell a tree for $5 because his brother would totally get him in trouble.

So off to Lowe’s we went. They were sold out. While Caleb drove to Arby’s to buy me something to drink (I was dying of thirst) I ran through the cold wind to WalMart. They had three trees leaning against eachother under a sign that said $1. They were mostly dead. No, I take that back. They were all dead. I shrugged and pulled up as much humility as I could muster. If all I could afford was a dead tree that rained down needles when you even just looked at it, then so be it. At least it still looked green, we wouldn’t have to water it, and it was just a dollar. I pulled the green-est tree out to the checker, who looked at me strangely. “Just take that out. Free. We’re about to close”. And so I did. I dropped it down in front of the store and then ran back in to buy some twine to tie it to the car, before they closed in fifteen minutes. On my way to the twine, I passed the Christmas decorations and remembered that the ornament box we had borrowed from my mother-in-law didn’t include a tree topper. I saw a bright blue, sparkly star, under a label marked $2. I decided it was worth $2 to have a bit of sparkle on our dead tree, so I grabbed it. When I reached the check-out, I saw that the packaging for the star actually read $3. I mentioned the two different prices and asked the clerk to do a price check, saying something like “I know it’s only a dollar, but that may change my mind”. She responded by saying “Oh! I can give it to you for a dollar!”. I’m pretty sure she misunderstood me, but I smiled and said thanks. By the time I walked out, Caleb had the car beside our claimed tree. I looked at him and asked if he thought we could afford $15 for a better tree, one that was at least alive, and did he want to try the tree-man again? He said sure, let’s try, so we left that tree lying on the sidewalk outside WalMart like the dead thing it was.

On the way over I worked through my thoughts aloud, deciding to offer $10 first and see if he would haggle me for it. We decided that even though money was really tight, we were willing to go to $15. I bounced out of the car and put on my super spunky, cute attitude. Anything to help, right? He laughed when he saw me. I informed him that we did indeed find a free tree, but we definitely preferred his trees and I was there to offer him $10. He started walking with me toward the lot, smiling and saying again how he definitely couldn’t sell a tree to me that low, and how his brother would kill him. I brought up the point that it was 100% more than I offered him last time, did some more skipping and a lot more smiling. He walked me to the outside of the tent, where the non-Frazier firs were, and up to a sweet little 5′ lovely. “How about this one?” he glanced over at me. “For $10?!!”, I didn’t get any response beside a shake of the head and more smiling. “I won’t tell” I promised him as he pulled it over to our car. Caleb and he got it up on the top of the car and I headed inside with him to pay. After the little cash register girl had rung me up, she quietly asked him “Do you want me to log that tree?” and he quickly said “No no! Don’t log it!”. Ahh, I love the Christmas spirit, even when done secretly to hide from boss brothers who may kill you.

We ended up at twice our beginning price, but he didn’t really even haggle me, and we drove away feeling very happy about the results of our evening. Of course the kids were wiped out when we got home and we barely managed to get the tree set in the stand before we gave up and went to bed. The next day we started off by reading the Christmas story in Luke, trying to keep Emma interested. Later we went to Caleb’s parent’s house for Christmas day, lunch and gifts for the kids. By the time we got home, Caleb was giddy about opening our three gifts, but I was intent on letting them sit under our decorated tree for at least one minute before opening them. So off to decorating we went!

Emma was absolutely entranced by the lights or, as she calls them, ‘heights’.

I strung the tree up until it sparkled and then we all started hanging the glass balls from his mom and our four personal ornaments. My favorite is definitely Logan’s:

Caleb decided he liked a pewter snowflake:

And Emma picked out this silver angel for her second year ornament:

Going along with my new collection, I went with this swirly take on the Christmas tree:

We weren’t able to get the tree in the stand quite right, so it leaned a bit. This wasn’t helped by the fact that my little blue star topper was on a spring (weird, right?) and it leaned too. But, even with the leaning, here is our little bit of Christmas all put together.

The picture is a bit blurry, but that’s ok. We realized we’ve only ever had one tree before in our marriage, so we didn’t realize that we both prefer different heights for the lowest branches on a Christmas tree. This one is a lot higher than I like. Ah well.

The other little bit of holiday fun was on the other side of the room, where I hung our mini-stockings. You can also see our new blue wall (full photos coming soon):

Emma has only recently figured out how presents and wrapping paper works, so she had quite a bit of fun unwrapping her gift all by herself (I’m actually really looking forward to her birthday this year when she’ll be excited about receiving gifts!):

Of course my child wasn’t dressed! You expect me to change my ways just because it’s Christmas? No way, Jose.

She received a new pack of markers, since she had lost her previous marker’s lids and dried them all up.

And yes, the box was already ripped by this point. Ah well on that too. As for Caleb and myself, I bought him a thing of Cran-Grape juice and he found me a little ‘sew your own’ Build-A-Bear frog for major discount at JoAnns the night before. Simple Christmas, but I’m so glad we were able to have a Christmas!

Merry Christmas and happy New Year from our little family!



  1. it cracks me up that your Christmas morning pictures are naked Emma… hehe
    So glad you ended up with a tree and something special to mark the day as an important one ❤ Cute ornaments too!!! I vote for Logan's as my favorite too!!

    • It was actually around 10pm Christmas evening 🙂 After bathtime!

  2. Hi new friend. Emma is cute. Especially with lights.

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