This Christmas will be the third for the Mr. and me as a married couple.

The first year, we were both so caught up in work and trying to get things done that we didn’t even put up a tree.

We were running on autopilot, and we didn’t stop until a day or two before Christmas.

I’d had a artificial tree and a small collection of ornaments stowed away in the attic, but we never got around to putting it all up.

We figured we didn’t need to put it up since we’d be spending the holiday with his family.

Last year, things slowed down a bit and we picked up a real tree from a lot on the side of the road.

It wasn’t bad for out first real tree. It was about seven feet tall, and a lot fuller than that puny little fake tree I’d had in previous years.

This year, we have another real tree, but we actually bought this one from a tree farm.

Some good friends invited us to go, letting us experience one of their family traditions: cutting down their own tree.

We all packed into their SUV and drove into the North Carolina mountains. Eventually, we made it to the Boyd Mountain Tree Farm in the Great Smokey Mountains.

The farm was full of families taking pictures with Santa or enjoying hot cocoa and apple cider, relaxing after finding the “perfect” tree. A wider view of the farm revealed rows of trees lining the hills nearby. The entire landscape was set in front of a backdrop with even larger mountains.

It was beautiful.

We climbed the hills with a bow saw, scouring the green, in search of two “perfect” trees.

I clearly wasn’t prepared for the trip.

I was wearing a pair of worn, flat loafers that appeared to have no more traction than a pair of pumps. My feet hurt as I tried to grip the ground with the small amount of tread that was there.

But it was all worth it because we were in search of the “perfect” tree.

Eventually, we found it.

It was a full tree, nearly eight feet tall.

My husband started to cut it while the other husband in the group braced the tree for its fall.

Then it fell.

The cut wasn’t perfect by any means, but the tree was still “perfect” to us.

Because it was our tree.

The one we picked out, and chopped down ourselves.

For us, the experience was what the start of the holiday season should be about: Enjoying time with friends in the midst of Santa, hot cocoa, and some beautiful scenery.

That’s why we think we’re going to make the holiday tree farm trip a tradition for out family too.

What are your holiday traditions? Are there any you would like to start?

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