4 Life Lessons I Learned From Having A Real Christmas Tree Every Year

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woman smelling christmas tree

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year. There is just something about shopping for gifts, decorations, and trees that seems to uplift people’s spirits — and let’s not forget all the great Christmas songs that play in the background at all the different stores we shop at. It adds to the holiday spirit and I love it.

Growing up, I’ll never forget how special my parents made Christmas day. But before I tell you about why Christmas day was so special, I have to tell you about the events that always took place leading up to it.

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Every year, about two weeks before Christmas, my entire house got dressed and headed out to pick up a real Christmas tree (none of those artificial ones you can buy at Home Depot).

You would think this would be an easy task, but we made it a tough one. We got excited to see if we could find a tree of our liking at our first destination, which almost never happened. We made our way down past each row of trees, looking at the height, width, softness, and fullness of the trees.

No one in the house wanted a lopsided tree. It had to be perfect.

Once we finally settled on a tree, we watched as it was tied to the top of the car, being prepared to make its way back home with us. The ride back home was always such a joyous occasion.

Next, we put the evergreen tree in the living room. Choosing a spot could be tough because we wanted to pick one that was visible — but not in the way.

After settling on a location, we held up the tree and watched as my dad put in the screws for the Christmas tree stand, and when the tree was finally up, we stared in awe as it stood tall and proud on its own.

Without water, the tree would die quickly, so once the basics were taken care of, my family and I could finally decorate the Christmas tree.

Every year a different family member got to decide what color the tree would be. Music played in the background as we worked as a team to put all the lights and ornaments on the tree in a timely manner. We always made a game out of who would be the first person to break an ornament. I must admit, I broke quite a few over the years, and cleaning up was never any fun.

After spending some time circling around the tree, it was time for one lucky person to be given the honor of plugging in the lights.

Everyone looked at each other and smiled as the house instantly lit up. It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

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Now fast-forward to Christmas eve. Underneath the tree still empty, we would spend the night baking cookies for Santa, which we'd leave on the table with a cold glass of milk. We closed our doors and climbed into bed excited for what the next day had in store. 

We always woke up extra early — we couldn’t wait another minute, so we begged our parents to let us open our gifts. They made us take a family photo in front of the tree before we could tear open our presents, and once the gifts were opened and everyone was smiling, the Christmas experience was complete. 

So, you may ask yourself, couldn’t all of this have been possible with a fake tree?

Well, sort of — but having a fake tree would have taken away a lot of the lessons I learned from having a real tree, lessons that I didn’t realize I could apply to other areas of my life.

1. Having a real Christmas tree made me learn to never settle.

One valuable lesson I learned was to go after what I wanted and never settle. As long as I was willing to put in the time and energy, I was likely to reach my goals.

This life lesson came from tree hunting — we could have decided to just choose the first tree we saw to save time, even though we knew it wasn’t the tree we truly wanted.

Instead, we searched for as long as it took — even going to different locations to find the perfect tree. It took more time, but it was always worth it in the end.

2. I learned to take care of the things and people I care about.

This stemmed from constantly being reminded to water the tree so it wouldn’t die.

As I grew older I realized that if you want healthy relationships in life, you have to treat yourself and others properly.

This includes knowing how to communicate with others, when to listen to your body, what changes to make for better results and other important things to keep you going. That is how you and the relationships you build will grow and survive.

3. I realized the importance of teamwork.

From working with the entire family to decorate the tree, I learned that you can’t always do everything in life on your own. I was not always tall enough to put an ornament in the position it needed to be, but that’s why someone else in the family was there to help.

When faced with a difficult and time-consuming task, working with others gives all parties involved a better chance of being successful as everyone can combine all of their strengths to get the task done.

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4. I learned to cherish the little moments I had with my loved ones.

The entire Christmas tree shopping and decorating process showed me how important the little things in life are.

Yes, we were just spending time putting the tree together, but that time would become one of my favorite memories. It made me appreciate our ability to bond over something small because over time, I realized that so many people don’t have the opportunity to bond with their loved ones.

Having a real Christmas tree made my Christmas experience pretty magical. It allowed me to bond with my family while learning lessons that I would carry on with me forever and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

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Alexis George is a writer who covers love, relationship advice, astrology, and personality topics.