Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Tale of Two Charlie Brown Christmas Trees

For many years we went out into the woods and cut our own Christmas tree.


While it was always great fun, the result wasn't always beautiful. Around here the fir balsams grow thick together, and what seems so perfect out in the woods is really three or four trees looking like one tree. Anyhow, after some time, I lobbied to begin buying our yearly tree at the local Christmas tree farm, and quel difference. The tree didn't have any spaces between branches. Ornaments didn't pull the branches practically down to the floor. You may see these perfect Christmas trees in many of my December letters.

Well, this year Matthew and Margaret have been talking about cutting their own 'Charlie Brown Christmas tree.' If you don't know what this is, it comes from a wonderful 1965 television production called A Charlie Brown Christmas. It is still shown on television and is also on dvd.

I found their enthusiasm contagious, and so the night before last when Tom got home from work, we went out in the fast-falling snow, and cut down a tree right on the edge of the field. There it is!

The dogs came and a lovely time was had by all.

We decided we'd bring the bow saw down to Margaret and Matt's house so they'd have it when they wanted to go cut their own tree.

As we were walking down the hill, we met them coming up. Matt was going to borrow the tractor to plow out their driveway area. They decided to cut their tree and bring it home in the bucket of the tractor.

We all had so much fun. It was the most incredible feeling to be doing this with the woman who used to be that little baby.

The tree in our living room

and in their loft

In the children's book:

The Queen chooses a tree that isn't perfect because she realizes that it has sheltered birds and animals.

And when the Queen's family and the villagers come to the great hall,

'everyone who danced and sang around it said that Small Pine was the finest Christmas tree yet. For in looking at its drooping branches, they saw the protecting arm of their father or the comforting lap of their mother.'


  1. Oh Nan, just read this post. Smiling and tears falling. What a wonderful story. Reminds me of when my children were small. Little ones make Christmas. My two little granddaughters 5 and 7 are so excited. I must purchase that book for them about the Christmas tree. Thank you - have a great day. Just flurries here in the woods - but cold.

  2. Can it be more perfect! I was just thinking of my favourite Christmas movies this morning, and Charlie Brown was up there.
    The book you featured has exquisite them!
    Your post makes me smile!
    Thanks for sharing,

  3. We used to cut a cedar tree off our farm for the outside 3 season room (which could be seen from the Living Room). The kids had such fun (and the dog)go down to the field and cutting one and bringing back up the hill. What memories!!

  4. This is so beautiful! Thank you for giving me something so lovely to read after a long day at work and coming home at dark in the pouring rain.
    I love the loft picture!

  5. Oh, Nan! I think the loveliest part of Christmas is the traditions that keep us all rooted in shared joys. I love that your baby girl is now the woman making a home (near yours!) and harvesting a tree where her memories live. You made me cry. This is truly a gorgeous evocation of what I love best about this season. Thank you so much!

    I am so envious of your snow. We have yet to have anything more than a stray snowflake or two. Really.

  6. I love the picture book, what a great story. Tree looks good too.

  7. Wonderful Christmas story. Love the pictures and the history of past Charlie Brown trees.

  8. Our tree this year is a Charlie Brown tree. Looks pretty good from the front but the back . . . oh my - looks like it was hit by a truck :) oh well - as my mom always said - once it has the lights and the ornaments on, it will be beautiful!

    I'll check to see if the library has that book - it looks lovely!

  9. Beautiful photos and post! What fun for you to have those two living so close to you!!

  10. Great post, Nan. Awww, the trees look beautiful to me. Charlie Brown's tree is always beautiful. It's all in how you look at it - right? How wonderful that you're able to grow your own trees on your own land. :)

  11. I love the Charlie Brown tree, and those illustrations are lovely.

  12. They may not be Christmas tree farm perfect, but they have major Character! :-)

    What beautiful illustrations in that book.

    I'll have to add it to our Christmas picturebook collection...

    have a happy Thursday

  13. I love that Charlie Brown special and your story was wonderful. The pictures are so great and keeping that tradition going is pretty awesome!

  14. I loved this post!! Charlie Brown's Christmas tree...what memories...and the music. Our son-in-law made a Charlie Brown and Snoopy cutout for their front yard this year to go with a sad little tree they have struggling along. My daughter said they hung one ornament on it. I'll try to send you a picture if I can. :-)

  15. What an enchanting post!

    I love a Charlie Brown Christmas and his tree. We have had a few Charlie Browners over the years, though Tom, aka Paul Bunyan, likes to get the biggest, tallest, fullest tree he can, which makes for a variety of stories about our various trees. What a lovely transition between that little babe in her daddy's arms to the grown woman of today. Now, this would make a Christmas letter I would love to get.

  16. That is a lovely post Nan!

    To my eye, the tree you cut looks perfect.

    It really is a blessing beyond belief to be friends with your grown daughter isn't it?

  17. This sure brought back some fond memories. I have no photos of tree gathering but the memories.

  18. How nice that your family Christmas tree tradtion has been revived--this will be memorable holiday--the first for your children next door.
    I remember some "store-bought" Christmas trees of the past, but more of them that my Dad cut in the woods and brought home.

  19. It is fun when they're little, but even a deeper joy when they are grown-ups!! Your granddaughters will like the book, I'm sure. I'm going to try and feature a few more picture books for Christmas, Ernestine.

    Joanne, you would like this book. There is a religious component -it was originally published in Guideposts. And that movie is one of my most faves too. haven't watched it yet this year.

    Sherri, wow - cedar. I've never seen a cedar Christmas tree. I don't think they grow around here in the woods- only as ornamentals on lawns. Great story.

    Librarian, thank you, what a nice thing to say! The loft really is a great feature. Margaret has a sweet round table up there for her desk.

    June, maybe your girls will do the same someday! I certainly never imagined Margaret would live on this land.

    Thanks, Cait. It is a nice story.

    Jill, it was fun for me to get those old pics out. I can't believe how the years have gone by.

    Yeah, ours looks like that from one side, Kathie. :<)

    Les, that's it - fun!!

    Yvette, there are zillions of trees in the north country.
    It's hard to keep a field from turning into forest.:<)

    Diane, I love that little rabbit. :<)

    Niki, as I noted to Joanne, it is connected to Guideposts. I know you will love it.

    Staci, it is such a wonderful show. Have you seen the 'Charlie Brown' trees in Lowe's or is it, Home Depot??

    Kay, I love that! Aren't they the cutest couple!!

    Life on the cutoff, that's ME holding Margaret. :<)

    Sallie, those are exactly the right words, 'blessing beyond belief.' Thank you.

    Thanks, Clair.

    Lisa, ah, there are so many things we never took pictures of. A reason I love cell phones and digital cameras. It is so much easier to get those special shots.

    Thank you, callmemadam.

    Morning's Minion, it is very special that we all did this on their first country Christmas together. I'm not saying I'll never get a full, tree-farm tree again.:<)

  20. Ooops. Missed that. Oh well, it gives me a chance to read this again and take a closer look at the book. This is our first grandchild's first Christmas and I am starting a tradition of giving her a Christmas book each year. I will have to remember this for the future. Thanks, Nan.

  21. My granddad always had a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. Some years he would use two trees, drill holes and insert extra branches to fill in empty spaces. They were definitely not the perfect trees physically, but they always seemed more like a Christmas tree should. They are the trees I remember, not the picture perfect ones.

  22. Life on the cutoff, what a wonderful tradition to begin. I so love it.

    Carolyn, I've never heard of anyone doing that! What a creative fellow! A great, great memory.

  23. what a wonderful post. I don't know this book but I am going to look for it. I put a post up the other day about our Charlie Brown Christmas, but we have had many Charlie Brown trees in the years since then; they all made us laugh - and rejoice. Thank you for a lovely story.

  24. Commonweeder, I had to limit the ornaments this year because there just weren't enough branches. :<)

  25. Ahh, what a lovely post Nan. I am so glad you steered me over to it! You know I am going to share the Charlie Brown Christmas tree story with my children. They have grown up missing out on a few of those parts of my own culture that just did not make it in...poor Charlie is one of them. Living as the sole anglo in a french culture means some things get missed but I am going to share this post as well with my daughter who will love it!
    I always read them the Crooked Little Christmas Tree and a few other favourites.

  26. An Anglo in Quebec, I did go back the other day and read your response to my comment on your blog. I didn't understand that CB wasn't a universal sort of character. I feel badly for him most of the time and am always happy when things go better. :<)


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