Saturday, December 10, 2005

Xmas tree

How does a tradition become a tradition? How long until a ritual is a tradition? I'm not certain, but for the 4th or 5th year running Shawn and I made our annual trek to IKEA yesterday for our Xmas tree. Not to sound like an advert, but the IKEA rent-a-tree program is a pretty good deal. For $24.99 you get a 5 - 7 foot tall Douglas Fir to take home and use. During the first weekend in January you bring the tree back to IKEA. They throw it in a chipper/shredder and send the bark off to a landscaping company. They also take some of the money and give it back to putting a new tree in the ground. Finally, they give you a $10 gift certificate for the store. In the end, the customer pays $14.99 for the tree.

It's a good deal. As I recall, it used to be an even better deal - $14.99 for the original tree price. All things go up in price, I figure. The sale also used to run for 2 or 3 weeks before Xmas, but this year it is down to one weekend. Fine by us as we tend to go the first day of the sale. Fridays are always calmer and there's a greater choice of trees available.

Adding to the tradition - for the third year running - is our trip to the Great Wall Mall near IKEA to enjoy dinner at the Imperial Garden restaurant. It's always a pleasure to dine on their exquisite Asian (mostly Chinese) fare. As usual, we ordered too much food last night and brought home the left overs.

This year I was a little wiser than in years past. Before leaving to pick up Shawn I got the tree stand out of the garage and into the living room. I also located my saw and put it in a place I could find it. When we got home from the restaurant everything was prepared for a quick placing of the tree.

As usual, we were too tired to actually decorate the tree last night. We'll do that tonight. I supposed that is part of the tradition as well. We hung a wreath a couple of week's ago. The wreath was purchased at Molbak's, as usual.

We don't do these things out of love for some sort of god. Certainly, we're mixing things up with getting the tree and eating Chinese food every year. As for the tree, we could easily save ourselves time and gas money by getting one locally - even for near the same price and probably fresher.

But we like the trip to IKEA. We like the Chinese dinner afterwards. We enjoy shopping at Molbak's for a wreath. We love taking the tree back to IKEA and spotting others doing the same on the roads that weekend. These are just comforting things to do which is why we're making it our tradition. They bring a little extra warmth into this cold month. For a brief time, we take respite from what others wrought on us and take joy in rebuilding a transient, but annual space in our home. At this time of year, comfort and tradition go hand in hand.


Homes said...

Is drinking Manhattans a part of this tradition?

B.D. said...

Absolutely. Drinking Manhattans is a part of the tradition, though it should be noted that these particular ones are quite strong. No more than 2 should be enjoyed if one is thinking of driving home.