When I was a kid, my father’s best friend from high school worked on a Christmas Tree farm. On Christmas Eve, he would arrive at our house with the best tree that was still left. It was always the proverbial Charlie Brown Christmas Tree. We celebrated Christmas in the spirit of giving and giving thanks. As part of our tradition, we made ornaments every year from paper and flour clay and such to add to our collection (craftiness has always been in my life). We would transform  that little picked over tree into the most beautiful little symbol of light and abundance that you have ever seen.

In keeping with the Charlie Brown Tree tradition, this past weekend my little family drove up a winding switchback road, hiked up a mountain and found our own most wonderful ancient symbol of the season.

With the thanks to and help from the folks at City of Boulder Mountain Parks


and Coyote Bob (above with Jack and Zane), in the freezing cold, in the company of many other families, we searched and searched, the kids complained that their hands were cold, the trail was too slippery and that their toes had gone numb. But, within no time I saw it – a wonderful tree, perfect in size and in symbolism – a Fir that at some point in its life had spit in two and grew a double trunk.

As we hauled the tree down the hill, we heard lots of, “wow, check out that cool tree” and “I’ve never seen that before.” Onto the roof of the mighty Subaru it went and we joined the many folks driving around town with their symbol of the season tied to the roof of their cars – a sight that brings a smile to my face every year.

Now, with my own kids we celebrate many the rich traditions of the holiday season, the Solstice and the coming return of the light, the Shambhala tradition of Children’s Day, Christmas as a day of giving and sharing. And for the past few days, the wonderful song The Christians and the Pagans by Dar Williams has been swimming around in my head– and I have listened to it many times over.


Next, we pulled out the bins marked “Xmas,”

the strings of  lights go on, and with each ornament that is pulled out, a memory is elicited, of a moment in the past, of making something with my little hands, of a lifetime represented by tiny figurines and shiny things linking past to future. (Below, Jack with an ornament from my toddler years.)

Now my kids add their own memories to our celebration tree, and that goofy, sparse charmer of a Charlie Brown Tree will once again become the most beautiful thing we have ever seen.

Happy Holidays, Peace and Love – Tara