Tonight my husband and I went to the Festival of Trees. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's a charity event where trees are decorated and donated to be sold. You can purchase tickets to go and look at all the beautiful trees and generally just get into the Christmas spirit. My husband and I go every year, to get ideas, enjoy the magic and whimsy and get our Christmas spirit on. I love it, it just wouldn't be the Christmas season without it. For me, it's the kick off event, to be followed by baking, looking at Christmas lights, drinking hot chocolate and wrapping presents. These are the activities I really enjoy now that I'm married, as the actual big day itself no longer holds much appeal.
You see, my mother is the Christmas queen. Every Christmas day she is the embodiment of Christmas spirit. Being at her house is like waking up in some kind of magical universe full of delicious food, charming music and all the people you love most. Unfortunately, the one downside to getting married is the need to compromise when it comes to the holidays. My husband and I, in an effort to please everyone, have split up both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so each side gets a share of both. So, in an effort to be fair, I miss half of the day at my mom's house, and it really just isn't the same. It's stressful and hurried, and I hate missing even a small chunk of the festivities. The result? I've begun to dread Christmas and the aching loss I feel every time I have to leave my mom's house early or arrive late. Not that I don't enjoy my husband's family, but it's just not the same.
In an effort to save my Christmas spirit and keep me from turning into a total humbug every year, I try to embrace all the pre-Christmas fun. Christmas itself may be a stressful dud, but I can still enjoy everything that's good about the season, before it's over and all that's left is months and months of dreary unrelenting winter. And so, without further ado, I give you a few highlights from our trip to the festival of trees. (Spoiler alert: the real winners of the festival were actually the gingerbread houses! Also, there are a lot of pictures.) If you're still planning to go, by all means do not scroll down.