Our tree-getting ritual has looked pretty similar all of these years—only the babies get bigger and bigger, and move from slings to backpacks to sleds to their own sturdy feet.
This year they trouped ahead, in search of their own vision of the perfect tree, each of them casting their vote for a hemlock here, a spruce there.
They're taller now—the boys and the trees—and we pick one that towers over us a bit, cutting it down and then trimming it to the top seven or eight feet.
This makes for a sturdier trunk, than the old saplings we used to bring home, and often (though not always) denser branches.
This year we aimed for a tree whose angled upward, hoping that, laden with ornaments, they would end up more horizontal than droopy.
We take the tree home and set it up in the space we've cleared and cleaned in anticipation. And then we put on Christmas records and decorate, a process that everyone loses enthusiasm for far too soon.
This year's tree is big and sturdy enough that it holds every single one of our numerous ornaments, including the "normal" ornaments that E specially requested—a box of gold glass balls that I bought at Kmart, back when C and I didn't have enough ornaments to fill out a small tree, as hard to believe that there ever was such a time.
Finally we place the elf in his place of honor, at the top, hugging the glass star, ready to preside over our festivities of the season.