The 2015 Temple Family Christmas Tree has been harvested from the earth!

We were back up at Lake Almanor for this year’s tree hunt (though we still plan to keep our tradition with Jessica and Larry and make another trip this holiday season, as long as Baby Young doesn’t decide to make her own early entrance!). As it had in years past, our quest made for the perfect excuse to get off our butts as a family the day after an extravagant Thanksgiving meal. 

Even us vegans ate toooooo much. :-(

Even us vegans ate toooooo much. 😦

Two year olds still seem to get a workout during dinner, though...

Two year olds still seem to get a workout during dinner, though…

We also got an awesome treat while trekking (a little aimlessly) through the Lassen National Forest in the snow.

Sammy finally treed something more interesting than a squirrel:

Hoot goes there? A California Spotted Owl!

Hoot goes there? A California Spotted Owl!

We had a really lovely long holiday weekend; full of all the usual lovely stuff like food and football (even though The Big Game was big time disappointing) and Christmas walks and spiced cider and birthday parties for little nieces. But somehow, encountering that owl out there in the snow was my favorite part of it all.

Out there in the quiet zen of the forest, you see, holidays don’t exist. Trees don’t have ornaments; owls don’t have parties to go to. There is only the quiet inhale and exhale of creation: the chill slip of fall into winter; the gentle flutter of life across the surface of the planet.

I kept thinking about Mr. Owl, high up in his pine, as Trent and I battled our way home in five hours of holiday traffic on Sunday. I kept wondering if he was still there, all proud and puffy, perfectly still, scouting the ground below for a snack while I readied for an absolutely insane “first week of the holiday season” full of decorating and more decorating and shopping and work work work and events and volunteering and parties and more shopping and MORE DECORATING.

And so when we finally landed back in Oakland, I decided to take a deep breath, and do as much as I was reasonably capable of to stay mentally in the forest a little while longer.

I put the tree outside on the back patio and didn’t do anything with it.

Well, Trent put the tree on the back patio. I said “let’s not do anything with the tree yet.”

I’ve got a perfect, fresh, hand-cut tree from the middle of the national forest sitting on my back patio. And it’s staying there for at least a week. 

I’m a long way from nature but that, for me, is progress, people!

Temples say, "bring on the holiday madness!"

Temples say, “bring on the holiday madness!”


The holidays are here! See all our photos of Thanksgiving 2015 here

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One thought on “Treehugging

  1. Margaret Wisniewski says:

    Wow! A big step for you, Lisa! Here’s a novel idea. Maybe you can bring that fabulous tree indoors and just leave it the way you found it, reminiscent of the way it lived in the forest. Perfect in its naturalness, with nothing on it. Or maybe you can find a little owl, or a collection of owls, to place in it, and just celebrate the beauty of simplicity. I think that owl might be a reminder of how nature remains constant in the midst of the chaos. Here’s to the Christmas owl! I will celebrate it with you! (Of course this would probably drive Sammy crazy!)

    As for fine holiday traditions, it looks like you have rivaled Martha Stuart with yours! The wonderful dinner, the beautiful setting, the amazing tree, and even a kid’s birthday party, can’t be topped by too many people. But all of that is meaningless unless the people in our lives are better for it. I hope that will always be the case for you. Keep people at the center of the celebration, embrace nature and ENJOY!

    Happy Holidays! Let the games begin! And may they all be joyful!

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