oney's tree farm

back to the old traditions.

You can get a Christmas tree almost anywhere these days; this isn't what Oney's is about. We're about those long lost traditions from your childhood, when the crisp, cold air held EXCITEMENT while you hunted for the perfect tree with your family by your side. It was knowing that beyond a doubt you had the freshest tree possible while the SMELL of pine & fir saturated every breath you took. It was the JOY of adventure while huge horses pulled an old fashioned wagon into the fields. It isn't a long ago memory... it's still here at Oney's Tree Farm.

we used to hit this place every year, the day after thanksgiving, to find our tree for the season. endless memories of minivans and a soundtrack of nat king cole and some manheim steamroller that i have vivid memories of hating but haven't asked my sisters if they bear the same scars :) anyone in chicago will attest that the last few winters have been mild, but usually this place is biting cold and we all lose sensation in our noses by the end of the day.

for years we each got to help pick the tree, help cut it down, i'd usually be the son for the day and help carry the tree back to the car - then my sisters and i would each get to pick out an ornament for that year, we'd get a round of hot chocolate, we'd go see Mrs. Claus (a woman who actually started to look forward to seeing us!) and drive 90 minutes back home to put up the tree and decorate the rest of the house. it took all weekend, and the house unfolded into itself in the magic of rediscovering favorite ornaments, the sticky wrappers of candy canes, glitter and lights and eventually sleeping to some sugarplum dreams.

we've taken a few years off from the tradition while we were in high school and there were trees available to support various clubs... or the cute nursery in the next town over instead of an hour and a half away... but this year my mom and i campaigned to get out of dodge and put some forgotten effort into it.

as we walked in the fun began :) anne was the angel, the running gag in the family is that every year is "her turn" to put the angel at the top of the tree... the truth is we could never remember whose turn it was, so somehow anne did it a few years in a row, so it became perpetual... anyway. anne the angel.

anners

i got the snowman due to my love of midnight snow angel parties
no snow yet, but i'm hopeful

the guy who brings the presets got to be the guy who brings the presents
dad's role in the holiday

and mom jumped on her favorite part of Christmas decor, the tree
mom's favorite part of Christmas

we wandered out into the fields of trees - anne found a little friend that she wanted to take home in her pocket
anne finds a buddy

we actually found this year's tree pretty quickly and dad went to work
chopping down our tree

sometimes dad is such an effing badass. just sayin.
dad is such a badass sometimes

getting the tree on top of the car is much easier now that we're all tall and strong enough to help. dad's kind of macguyver-ish in that he actually keeps rope in the trunk... it's come in handy more times than i ever thought it would.

loading up the tree
i kept quoting Boondock Saints to anne -
Connor
: [picking out weapons and gear] Do ya know what we need, man? Some rope.
Murphy: Absolutely. What are ya, insane?
Connor: No I ain't. Charlie Bronson's always got rope.
Murphy: What?
Connor: Yeah. He's got a lot of rope strapped around him in the movies, and they always end up using it.
Murphy: You've lost it, haven't ya?
Connor: No, I'm serious.
Murphy: Me too. That's stupid. Name one thing you gonna need a rope for.
Connor: You don't fuckin' know what you're gonna need it for. They just always need it.
Murphy: What's this 'they' shit? This isn't a movie.
Connor: Oh, right.
[picks up large knife out of Murphy's bag]
Connor: Is that right, Rambo?
Murphy: All right. Get your stupid fuckin' rope.
Connor: I'll get my stupid rope. I'll get it. This is a rope right here.

[moving on]

after the tree comes the ornaments... so funny how familiar this place is even after a few years have gone by. it's a similar nostalgia to last year when i had issues with going back to the church i grew up in - this place does not recognize me at all, but i know it very well.
at oney's

we skipped seeing Mrs. Claus because, well, her shop was closed, but also because it felt somehow like it would be strange to see her - we didn't really deconstruct it but i'm feeling pretty sure we would all prefer to keep our sweet memories of her intact instead of knocking on that old toy shop door and her be a different person altogether, or not remember us from when we were kids. either would have been a disappointment, and instead we kind of easily accepted that we wouldn't see her. it felt sweet enough just to remember her.

we loaded up the car with the ornaments and some branches that mom picked up in the nursery, and headed home. the rest of the day went as it has so many times :) with old ornaments and familiar decorations, and dad outside smoking a cigar on a rickety ladder, risking his neck just so that we can have twinkling stars lining the front door at night.
sitting inside the magic forest