The scent of fir

Cloves and ginger, Bing Crosby melodies, a snow-sprinkled garden, and that woodsy scent of pine and sap can only mean one thing: it is, in fact, the most wonderful time of year.

When you (your husband, that is) has delivered an Industrial Economics essay in fine fashion, there is only one thing to be done: buy your first Christmas tree. We did, and I made sure to dish up a side of overly enthusiastic squeals and claps.

Scotland doesn't celebrate Christmas on the insane level of America, so finding a tree and fixin's is nothing like a Home Depot run. There's a lone shop in town that stocks trees, and I was cheerily informed yesterday the trees would be in by today. Joy, joy, joy! I zipped up my boots, and we were off through the snowed garden. The snow, oh the snow, is bliss! It's covered in dry layers of fairy dust that neither soak your skin nor weigh you down. The texture is unlike any snow I've seen, tasted, or crunched through.


At the shop, our tree commentary sounded strangely reminiscent of fashion show remarks with words like tall, shape, full, and body. I'll spare you our deliberation, but we did choose one that the shop-lady said had a nice shepp, and although small by some standards, we sized it up and knew it would be dandy for our wee flat.


Walker hoisted our treasure up, and we were off through town. The Scots aren't ones for over-emotionalism, but I did catch glimpses of smiles on the sidewalks.


I trailed Walker, and almost dropped the camera when his foot slipped even an inch. We made it, no crashes or slides, with our tree.


As it turned out, carrying the darling home took longer than decorating it. Walker practically had the lights strung before my coat was on its hook.


Sadly, there's not much you can do to elongate the decoration of a 4-foot tree, except rearrange, exclaim adoration, step back, and move that bulb one inch down.


Here she smiles, sitting dandy with her pillowcase skirt, $15 of fairy lights (a British-ism I love), and the cutest ornaments you'll find in the kingdom of Fife. I'd say she's jolly. (If you look closely, you can see Walk hugging me as I take this picture of our tree.)


I was devastated that our snowflake from Prague was broken when I untaped its bubble-wrap, but Walker glued it good as new. I love that man!


Ahh, that tangy scent of Christmas fir is hanging in our living room and kitchen, and I am so anxious for it to spread even more. My husband will affirm that I'm overly protective of the precious Christmas aroma and try to close the doors rapidly to preserve it.

A miniature party must accompany the decorating, so we had my grandma's Italian raspberry cookies (favorite cookies of all time), and Walker had hot choc with marshmallows (the sole food I'm insanely jealous I can't have).


And as I was craving the smell of gingerbread, a bit later than the decorating, I made a pan, with authentic British treacle (molasses). Treacle is one of the many British words I've infamously mispronounced (I said tree-ack-le, once, I admit), so this photo is for you, E & R. My nails, you might also note, are decked in Christmas Tree green.


I've always loved traditions and special occasions, but going through this all with Walker makes life sparkle oodles more. Being married has made anticipation richer, has made each moment exponentially happier as our joy reflects off the other. Each instant of joy we share, each bite of gingerbread, each whiff of the tree, each smile at my man untangling the lights, dreaming of future traditions, and making everything work, points me away from myself. That's one of the best things about being married.

I'm in love this season. I'm in love more than ever with my husband and this first time we're venturing to find beauty in family traditions. I'm in love with friendly colors, with new flavors of snow, with darkly-spiced foods, and all things twinkling and warm. I'm in love with the One who gives us these things to enjoy for what they are, small pieces of a picture far more majestic than we can imagine.


Happy Christmas Season!