It’s starting to snow outside — a very fine, light, dusty snow. We haven’t had much snow here yet this year, so every little bit we get is a treasure. Fall here in Casper was long and gorgeous, but now the colder temperatures have hit and the weather is getting a little more “Christmassy.”
We decorated for Christmas just this last weekend, after Thanksgiving. Friends and family have blessed us with an abundance of Christmas decorations, so our home is quite festive. And God blessed us with a Christmas tree, which is a story worth sharing….
Coming into marriage, neither Alexander nor I had a regular-sized Christmas tree. We debated whether a live or artificial one was better for us this year and settled on an artificial one, being as it would be less mess and could stay up longer than a live tree. However, brand new artificial trees were out of our price range, so we decided to look for a second-hand one. While I was in Montana in October, I stopped at one of my favorite thrift stores but was disappointed to find that, considering the price they were charging for a used tree, we might as well purchase a new one. The following weeks/month leading up to Thanksgiving passed in a blur because of road trips, weddings, and church projects, all without any more Christmas tree shopping. We were hoping to decorate for Christmas the weekend after Thanksgiving; thus, when the last Saturday before Thanksgiving came around and we were finally not traveling anywhere, we decided to visit the local thrift stores.
Our first stop was the tiny Methodist thrift store that is open at odd, short hours but offers some incredible bargains on the right days. No Christmas tree for us, but we did find Alexander the robe he’s been wanting (and it’s Christmas green!), plus a table-top ping-pong game that hubby was quite excited about. We haven’t played it yet, but I’m sure he’ll whoop his completely uncoordinated wife….oh well, it’ll be fun anyways!
Our next stop was the Salvation Army store, which was laden with Christmas decorations. In a back room, we found two boxed trees — one a 6 1/2-ft prelit and the other a 7-ft prelit. Originally, we hadn’t wanted a prelit tree, but we figured that it might be our only option; besides, we didn’t have to use those lights if we didn’t want to and handyman-husband could easily remove the lights if we wanted to add our own. Additionally, a worker at the store told us that the trees were selling pretty much as quickly as they were put up for sale and that the trees had already been through a test set-up, so at least we knew we were purchasing a usable tree. Both of the options were in our price range. Therefore, although we couldn’t tell exactly what the trees looked like because they were taped up in boxes, we chose the 7ft pine because it was taller and I liked what the picture on the box showed. We bought the tree for ten dollars (the original price tag on the box said $125!!!) and we lugged it out to our little Subaru Baja, totally delighted to have our first Christmas tree, however battered or well-used it might turn out to be.
While we were in Salvation Army, some other shoppers had encouraged us to check out a nearby thrift store called Thrifty D’s. Since we’re always up for an adventure and we were enjoying our cheap shopping “date,” Thrifty D’s was our next stop. Rummaging through their Christmas supplies, Alexander found a rotating Christmas tree stand. Now, neither of us had ever used one before, but Alexander had always wanted one so that none of the ornaments on a tree were hidden from view. (That’s my analytical hubby!) He tested it, it worked, so we bought it for four dollars. Another bargain buy!
At home, we were (maybe mostly “I was”) much too excited about the inexpensive set-up God had provided for us to just lug the tree and stand downstairs to the basement. Besides, we had to open it just to see what the tree really looked like. And once the box was open, it didn’t make sense to pack it back up…right??? (Yes, I will always rationalize decorating early for Christmas.) So we fluffed up its smooshed branches, Alexander adjusted the tree’s base to make it fit in the rotator (my amazing handyman hubby…), and we turned on the prelit lights just to see what they looked like.
Let’s just say that God knew what tree we needed far better than we did.
We hadn’t planned on buying a prelit tree.
I normally wouldn’t buy this certain style of tree with frayed needles (meant to look somewhat like a frosting of snow).
We never would have gone into Thrifty D’s if doing so hadn’t been suggested by the couple in Salvation Army.
The first time we turned on the tree, we simply sat on the floor and watched it for half an hour. Just watching it is so peaceful and relaxing — a treasured environment both Alexander and I can really use right now amidst the craziness of life. God knew that…and that’s why He gave us our beautiful, glowing, perfect-for-us Christmas tree.
Questions for you…
1. How has God provided for you this season?
2. Have you decorated your house for Christmas?
3. What are you looking forward to the most this holiday season?