Saturday, January 2, 2016

O Christmas Tree

The past couple of years we have cut down our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving.  This wasn’t a quick selection at some temporary Christmas tree lot.  Rachel had strict requirements of the type of Christmas tree that she would allow to enter our house.  It had to be cut down, full and proportionate, and the bigger the better.  The process of finding a perfect Christmas tree was an all-day affair that involved roaming about sometimes more than one Christmas tree farm and putting garments of clothing on multiple trees to reserve them until she found "the one."

Things were a bit different this year.  After days of looking, we ended up with this one. 
Isn't she a beauty?
In el Valle de los Chillos, the valley outside of Quito where we are living, we found two places that sold Christmas trees.  The first place had five brown Christmas trees with their dead needles falling off.  No thanks.  The second place was a nursery that had a bunch of trees, but not so much Christmas trees.  We bought our skinny minnie, which was the best one out of the ragtag assortment.  The roots were still attached and we kept them that way by putting them in a cleaned out 5 gallon paint bucket so that we could replant it when we were finished.  No decorative tree stand this year. 

Rachel’s parents also got a Christmas tree.  But they were much more resourceful than us in acquiring their round beauty.  
Our tree is on the left and their tree is on the right.  It is hard to tell which one is more amazing.

They dug it up from their yard, and will replant it when they are finished.  I like the sound of that.  If we had a yard at home, I would start that tradition immediately.  Using the Christmas tree and replanting it again and again until it got so big that it wouldn’t fit into the house, and then start over again.  This would save a ton of money and a ton of searching for the perfect tree time. 

Christmas trees are not as popular in Ecuador as they are in the States.  Some people here have artificial trees, a few people have a tree that was cut down, but most people have Bethlehem scenes.  These scenes aren’t just nativity scenes of Jesus in the manger.  They are reconstructions of what the town of Bethlehem would have looked like.  They include merchants, tradesman, houses, livestock, etc., and can become quite elaborate and creative.

Eliana and Anaiah checking out a Bethlehem scene at their cousin's house.

Check out the incense on the left, a common effect used at Bethlehem scenes.  

Christmas is over, Bethlehem scenes have been taken down, and our tree that would given Charlie Brown’s a run for his money is back in the ground, getting ready for another year to be dug up and used again.

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