It’s always a special day at Christmastime when you bundle up, turn on Christmas carols in the car, and head to the tree lot for The Great Tree Hunt. Each tree is an individual (we name ours every year) and it’s so much fun to wander among different types of trees, inhaling that intoxicating pine scent and scrutinizing the boughs. Is this one worthy to display our prized ornaments? Will this one make our house feel magical?

Someday, we’d like to get a permit and make a family day of cutting down our Christmas tree, but for now, we’ve got the charming Park City Nursery. I’ve described before how it transforms during the holidays. We’d already picked up some wreaths this year, unexpectedly meeting live nativity(ish) animals, too! Our only goal on this second trip was to pick up a tree and make it a fun event before Oden’s naptime.

The nursery is familiar to Oden at this point. He wanted to be on the loose from the start and guided our way through trees of all shapes and sizes. We’ve had all different sorts grace our living room: tall and lanky (Stewart), too big (Big Bertha), somewhere in between (Boris and Doris), and of course, Oden’s first tree (George). This year, we decided to keep it simple and get a smaller tree that we’d put up on a table (and hopefully less temptation for grabby little toddler hands). We also knew we’d be packing up right after the holiday to move to a new home, so simple seemed wise!

After wandering around the rows of trees for a while, the big WOW factor for Oden seemed to be eating snow. So we made our way to the hot cocoa and cider station for Oden’s first hot cocoa experience! Newsflash: He loves marshmallows. It was so cute to see him carefully sip from the cup, blow on it because it was warm, and then go back to his toddler wanderings with cocoa on his face. It’s so much fun to see him experience something for the first time. It’s one of the great joys of parenthood!

It didn’t take long for us to find our perfect little tree, get him strapped onto the car, and head out. John picked up a funny little Santa sculpture (which we later discovered flashed like a disco club) and we met a sweet puppy as we left.

On the way home, I decided our tree’s name should be Merlin, after the camel we’d met at the nursery a couple of weeks ago. You remember Merlin, don’t you?

For the first time ever, John was able to get our Christmas tree up the stairs to the living room with one hand! Oden was enthralled by the tree right there next to his play area, sniffing its piney branches and helping sweep up needles. It’s not his first Christmas tree, but at his age, it’s more exciting for him!

We took our time decorating the tree, wanting Oden to be part of whatever we did. First, came some brightly colored lights. Oden kept yelling, “Blue! Blue!” because it’s the only color he can say so far. On another night, we showed him how to hang ornaments (which he later pulled back off of the tree proudly). Back and forth he went to the container of soft ornaments, hanging them ALL on the very lowest branches but having a blast. On another afternoon, I made some warm cocoa and we hung a couple more ornaments. Baby steps, people. Stress less!

Truthfully, our sweet little Merlin is already shedding a few too many pine needles. He started drying up immediately! The few first wrapped gifts I stuck under the tree started disappearing as our inventive toddler decided they might belong in other rooms, so we are waiting to put them out until Christmas Eve. Is Merlin the classic, sparkling, majestic tree we’ve had in the past? No! Nothing is the way I picture it in my head these days, and our tree looks like it was decorated by a toddler. Because it was. Which makes it awesome.

Precious memories are being made all season long (part of our December to remember!), and finding and decorating Merlin with Oden has been special. He’s perfect and beautiful and makes me smile every time I walk in the room.

(The tree is pretty great, too.)















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