It’s Christmastime at the Walden Farm and I am so excited. My sisters and brother and I have been as good as gold so Santa will come. Even the woodsboonies have been well behaved. I haven’t had to blame them for much in the month of December.
A couple of days ago Bud, Babs, Ruth, Lambie and I strapped on our snowshoes and headed out through the pasture to find this year’s tree. We tromped around and found the very best tree, a big tall Balsam fir with wide sweeping branches. No sissy tree for us! We chopped it down and brought it back to the house. That was no small feat; it took all five of us to haul it in. Then we had to cut off about four feet, two at the top and two at the bottom because a tree looks smaller out in a field than it does when it comes to putting it in a house – even one with high ceilings, which we didn’t have. Once we stood it up it filled half the room (it was about 12 feet around the bottom) and looked as if you went up attic, you would find the top.
We got the decorations Ma stored in the attic in an old small cardboard box and went to work placing everything carefully on the tree. Crystal sparkling rope and some pretty garland go around the tree first and then we add icicle ornaments made of silver paper that hang down on the branches and reflect the shiny red, silver and blue Christmas tree balls. On top the tree is a home made star, cut from cardboard and covered with tin foil. Last we add the tinsel carefully, one strand at a time to make the whole tree glisten.
The tree will stay up into the New Year. The needles will dry and some of us kids plan to make small pillows filled with the nice smelly Balsam needles. This year I am going to make a pillow to give to my very first girlfriend. I figure that while my competition may come from rich families down where she lives in Massachusetts and the boys who like her might give her fancy store bought presents, my homemade gift that I fashion myself and make with my own two hands will stand out as unique and remind her of summer in Maine and me. (And who knows, maybe I’ll get my first kiss when I see her next.)
One thing we learn young here on the Walden Farm is to make something out of what other people would consider nothing. When you have little in dollars and cents you learn to be creative, look around and make do with what is right outside your door, free for the taking but requiring some thought, imagination and effort.
We are happy in a way that has nothing to do with wealth and much to do with family. Christmas is a time of the year filled with wonder, joy and appreciation for the things you cannot touch or hold in your hand. As my Grampa Ed Walden says, ‘Blessed be nahthing.” He is right. We don’t have much by the world’s standards but we are blessed with happiness, anticipation and love for each other this Christmas season.