Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Whenever I think of family traditions, this song from the musical Fiddler on the Roof - "Tradition" runs through my head!

When Joe and I met in Dallas over 26 years ago, we were Texas transplants.  Both of us had recently relocated to the metroplex.  We both were living far from any family.  I have four brothers and one sister plus my folks--all in five different states.  Joe's parents and brother were on opposite ends of the US-- New York and California.  So when we had our first baby...our daughter, Sara, it became crystal clear that holidays for us were going to be different.  Spending the holidays with family was not a reality for us.  Sunday dinners with the folks was not going to be a part of our world as a family.  As our first Christmas with Sara approached I clearly remember talking to Greg, a co-worker of mine, about missing family during the holidays...I just didn't know what the Gautille Christmas was going to look like in our home.  He too lived far from family and said he and his wife started their own "traditions" (yes...when I hear that word, I hear the dairyman,Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof singing TRADITION).

Greg  mentioned going to a Christmas tree farm and chopping down their annual evergreen became part of their Christmas ritual

...And so it began for the Gautille household too--incorporating the old fashion tradition of choppin' the tree down and strapping it to the roof of our mini van!  Now, 25 years later, it is a beloved TRADITION!  Over the years we have refined the tradition...we now go on search of the perfect pine the Friday after Thanksgiving--intentionally dodging the madness of shoppers on Black Friday.  This also allows us to secure a good tree.  Oh...my bad...did I mention that the trees are not the magnificent, full, fresh cut New England pine trees.

The trees aren't quite as bad as Charlie Brown's Christmas tree, they are more along the line of a tree drawing from a Dr. Seuss story.  We have had Christmas trees that had an 'S' shaped or worse, a zigzag trunk.  We have had the most beautiful trees that were completely bare on one side--but against the right wall the tree was perfect!  We have been known to tie our tree to the banister in order to keep it in the tree stand and not fall over...

So you may ask,  why would we drive an hour and a half each way, and pay money for an ugly Christmas tree that we strap to the roof of our car and haul it back home?  Tradition!  Because if truth be told...this IS a Christmas gift!

Because for one day we slow down from the chaos in our lives, we all load into the SUV--even the dogs, and we spend the next hour and a half singing Christmas carols, talking, reminiscing about Christmas' past, being a family. And following our adventure at the tree farm--which includes: going on a hayride, trying valiantly to chop our perfect tree with saws that are awful, eating delicious Christmas cookies and yummy brownies, drinking apple cider, taking picture--lots of pictures.  Then we load into our SUV again with our fresh evergreen firmly strapped to the top of the car and head home...singing, laughing, reminiscing...just being.
I believe traditions are the very fabric of a family!


The Walls Family Christmas Tree Farm

Ducati doesn't want to miss anything!

My beautiful daughters Sara & Jenna

Joe securing the tree to the car

Moose and Ellie are pooped out!

Ryan & Sara Corl with Moose and Baby Corl!

Ryan, Jenna, Adam, Heather and Sara

Adam, Joe and Ryan

Me and Ellie

We are missing Jenna in this picture!  Great day!

I Lasso the traditions we began with our family!
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