Updated: Jan 16
It's November 29! The Most Wonderful Time Of Year is underway! I absolutely LOVE Christmas! How about you? I mean, what is not to love? The pretty lights, the decorations, the sense of love and family, retail therapy (tee-hee), and the smiles on every excited little boy & girl. I just completely LOVE Christmas!
This year is a little different. I'm working harder than I have ever worked, but I'm more satisfied with my life, my business, and just about everything than I have been in many years. God is good!
So, let me tell you about this adventure my husband takes me on every single year (for the last 21 years). On Black Friday, we don't go retail shopping. We both take off of work. When the kids were little, we would get a babysitter. Now, they are grown, so they are on their own that day! We jump in the truck, go out to breakfast, and then hit the road without a destination in mind. Sometimes we end up in another state. The purpose of this adventure is finding the PERFECT Christmas tree! 3 years ago, we ended up in Maryland, or was it Delaware? Anyway, we found enormous gorgeous Christmas trees at great prices. -And hauled our perfect tree all of the way home to Chesapeake, VA.
This year, which was just two days ago, we took on our adventure and headed to North Carolina. -But let me back up. I had 182 awards due for NC State Friday morning. I had not worked most of the day on Wednesday prepping for Thanksgiving, and obviously, I didn't work during the day on Thanksgiving Day. However, after everyone went home, I KNEW I had to get the remainder of the awards glued and touched up. Little did I know it would take until 3:30am. Well, it actually took longer, but I decided I needed to go to bed at 3:30am. 4:45am was the last time I looked at the clock (my brain would not shut down because work was left to be done).
I set my alarm for 6am. By 6:15am, I was back in the workshop sorting and packing the awards. Then, I had to go through each box, over my checklist, and make sure nothing was missing. (We were supposed to leave by 9am). I loaded up the whole backseat of my truck with the intention of dropping them to a friend in NC where the customer would pick them up ---in a few short hours!! Well,let me tell you, GOD IS GOOD, and this IS the Most Wonderful Time of Year. The friend text me, and offered to come pick the awards up!! WOOHOO!
By 9:30am (remember, we were supposed to leave by 9am) I was in the shower, got dolled up, and then transferred all of the awards from my truck to his truck. Now, it was nearing 10:30am, and we were finally on the road. It was too late to eat breakfast out. Oh well, part 1 of the tradition was broken. But that was okay. We were in the truck ALONE, on our date day!
We headed towards Jordan Lake in Apex, NC. That is approximately 3.5 hours from our home. There is an adorable tree farm there with a little red barn-like shop with ornaments. You can cut your own, or buy pre-cut trees and wreaths. It is just like a Hallmark movie! If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend them! We ate Arby's on the run, arrived to the Jordan Lake Tree Farm at 2:30pm. -And then we noticed the sign..............
The sign read "By Reservation Only" -- due to Covid. Oh my goodness! I was frantic all morning trying to get ready to be on time for our date day. We skipped our regular breakfast out. We ate lunch while driving from a DRIVE THRU!! -only to arrive to see we wouldn't be allowed in! My husband pulled the truck up to the attendants "Do you have a reservation, sir". My husband happily replied, "no, we don't, but we drove all the way from Virginia". The attendant jokingly said, "well, we are sending you back to Virginia", followed by "go to parking lot 2. After you pick your tree, be sure to tell them you are in parking lot 2". GOD IS GOOD, and this IS the Most Wonderful Time of Year.
We get out of the truck, and realize EVERYONE is wearing masks OUTSIDE. So, here we go. My glasses are fogging up. It is unseasonably warm. -But we were making the most of it. Holding hands, talking about what size tree we were going to get. Feeling lucky we got in.
Within 15 minutes, we picked a HUGE beautiful tree. People there are so helpful. Every tree we looked at, a different person was popping up asking if they could hold it up for both of us to walk around the tree and make sure it is the one we wanted. The people are AMAZING. Again, highly recommend this tree farm! Once we found our tree, the great attendants loaded it up in their trailer attached to a 4-wheeler and drove it to parking lot 2, while we went inside to shop the ornaments and pay for the tree. We didn't buy any ornaments, but we bought a new tree stand.
Another AMAZING feature of this tree farm is hot doughnuts, hot cider, and sodas, popcorn, and other snacks. We had powdered sugar and cinnamon sugar hot doughnuts, soooo yummy! When we were done enjoying our snack and each other from their deck (with heaters on the deck for cold days), we headed to our truck. As we approached the exit, we gave them our ticket, they threw the tree in the back of the truck, and we were on our way.
This may sound silly to drive a total of 7 hours for a tree. It isn't about the tree. It is about tradition. It is about spending quality time with the one you love, doing what you love during the Most Wonderful Time of Year!
So, take those mental health days, even when you need to bust your hump to get the work done, skip sleep, and pivot your schedule. Make date days and mental health days important -above all else.
On the way home, we stopped at Milton's Pizza in Raleigh - which apparently used to be in Virginia Beach when my husband was young. This made his day! -Maybe his week, because he is still talking about it, and posting about it on Facebook! HA! But him being happy makes me happy. Life is short, go get the tree!