It’s been a rough year. From the global health issues of the pandemic to the economic and mental health effects of staying home to virtual school, 2020 has been hard (and that’s an understatement). As this year comes to a close and our highest hopes are set for 2021, we’re left needing a win. 

Man, Woman, and toddler smiling with real Christmas Tree on a farm

On a positive spin, COVID-19 has paused many in-person holiday celebrations out of an abundance of caution and safety. We can choose to be upset or we can choose to pivot and refocus on our families and making memories. For so many of us, the holiday season is plagued by busyness. Let’s pause and focus on finding joy in the small moments. 

Here’s an easy way to reclaim the joy this holiday season: I propose EVERY family has a real tree (even if you don’t celebrate Christmas!) this year. Here’s why- 

1. MEMORIES

I recently moved to Washington state. In the move, some evergreen branches (which are everywhere!) must have gotten stuck on some of our office boxes. For weeks, every time I went into the office – let’s be real, NONE of these boxes are unpacked yet – I was overwhelmed with the beautiful, crisp scent of winter. It was a nostalgic scent that reminded me of going to a tree lot with my dad and picking out the biggest tree we could carry. It reminded me of my care-free days as a child and the excitement and peace surrounding Christmas morning as a family. I found myself running to the office at every post-PCS stress to breathe-in that calming evergreen scent. 

Little girl standing in a tree farm smiling

I’ve come to realize that I’ve allowed myself to get caught up in the stress and busyness of the holiday season as an adult. With a deployment, PCS, pandemic, and virtual school, this has been a hard year for me and especially for my kids. I want to make this holiday season extra special for them. I want them to look back on 2020 and remember the amazing memories we’ve had together and not the fear and stress. I have an inkling that you might feel the same. 

I will be the first to admit that I’ve had an artificial tree every year of my adult life; they’re consistent and convenient. And yes, we’ve had so many memories around the same tree every year. But how many more memories can we make by picking out our tree or even cutting one down ourselves? I want my kids to have the same nostalgia for the fresh evergreen scent when they are an adult, and that starts with us getting a real tree this year. 

Woman helping little girl cut down a real Christmas Tree

2. SUPPORT 

In college, my then-boyfriend-now-husband and I had a good friend who grew up on a Christmas Tree farm. I didn’t even know that was a real thing until I met him! But just as pumpkins are grown and harvested for Halloween and lettuce is grown and harvested for your salad, so are trees specifically grown and harvested for the holidays. For every Christmas tree harvested, at least one more tree is planted in its place. 

Man and little boy cutting Christmas tree down together

So when we buy a real tree this year we are not only supporting more trees being planted, we are supporting a hard-working family just like our own. In the case of our college friend, he is part of a multi-generational Christmas Tree farm, and just like many families nation-wide, they have a loved one who is an active duty military member who will not be home for the holidays this year. We can all relate to what that’s like. 

So yes, I could put up my artificial tree again this year. But instead, I want to support another family’s livelihood – I want my family’s purchases to support small businesses and other families.

3. INCLUSION

If you’re reading this and you’re saying, “But Amie, we don’t celebrate Christmas!” Fear not! There are so many beautiful ways you can enjoy a real tree in the celebrations of your own faith or in secular ways. Here are five ways you can include a real tree in your family’s holiday traditions: 

Rain boots with a small Christmas Tree

  1. THANKFUL TREE – Have everyone write down one thing they’re thankful for every day, hang it on the tree, and read them all on New Year’s Day. Then take the boughs and use around the house to remember your thankfulness and memories all winter long.
  2. WISHING TREE – Pick a night to write all your hopes and dreams for the New Year on notes to hang on the tree. At the end of the season, dry a few branches and store with all wishes. Next year, read all the wishes and decorate the tree again with those that have not yet come true and decorate with the boughs to symbolize the dreams realized.

  3. MEMORY TREE – Use images and trinkets from your favorite family memories from the year to hang and display. At the end of the season slice up the branches and modge-podge your favorite images and memories to remember for years to come.

  4. FAMILY TREE – Recycle all those holiday cards into ornaments and hang on the tree. You can do this with all those old photos too! At the end of the season dry and cut the trunk; you can use them for crafts! Hollow out to make birdhouses for other (feathered) families to enjoy. Use your creativity in whatever ways you would like.

  5. UPCYCLE TREE – After your family’s unique holiday celebrations, slice up the trunk and branches to make bird feeders, coasters, live-edge chalkboards, and more to make your holiday memories last all-year-round!

Two little girls smiling in Christmas Tree lot

As 2020 draws to a close, I am on a mission to reclaim joy this holiday season.

This year has been hard, but it’s possible to end a bad year with good memories. There are a lot of things I want to do differently this holiday season, the first of which is to get a real tree. Will you join me? This year let’s move away from focusing on the things we have and move towards enjoying the memories we make. 

Do you need help finding the perfect place to find the perfect tree?

This interactive map and search filters can help you find a real Christmas tree no matter where you live and like to shop. 

Click Here To Find Your Perfect Tree!

Man carrying real tree on shoulder with little girl trailing behindTrees for Troops provides real trees to service members and their families at many bases worldwide. Ask your base if they participate! 

It's Christmas Keep It Real logoWant more inspiration about how to make this holiday season the best one yet?

Follow our friends at It’s Christmas Keep It Real.

This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are our own.
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Amie Glazier
Originally from Denver, Amie enjoyed a break from cold winters while stationed in various southern locales with her husband, who is a pilot in the Navy. But they currently live outside Seattle, and she is now learning to love the rain. Amie and her husband have four small children who eat dinosaur chicken nuggets like they're going extinct and love all things aviation. After graduating with her B.A. in English, Amie worked in various fields with each military move, but never stopped writing. She has been a contributor for The Military Mom Collective since it was founded and finds joy in helping other moms connect in community. When she’s not writing or herding her adorable brood, you can find Amie working out at the local cross fit gym, binge-watching Hallmark movies, and actually enjoying chemistry while home-brewing with her husband. Amie is proud to be co-owner and Director of Partnerships for MilMC to help military families connect worldwide. You can contact Amie at info {at} militarymomcollective {dot} com and follow her journey on Instagram @mrs.amielou

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