By Chelsea Moore | Photos by Focal Point Creative

As a child, there is something magical, and almost transcendent, about a decorated tree. Some of my most treasured childhood memories involve the nights in early December that my dad would bring home a Christmas tree in the bed of his truck. My siblings and I would make hot chocolate, sing along to Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas,” and string lights and ornaments through the tree.

Yetta Reid, holding son Theo, and Ian Reid, holding son Cal, hunt for trees at the Snickers Gap Christmas Tree Farm in Round Hill.

Yetta Reid, holding son Theo, and Ian Reid, holding son Cal, hunt for trees at the Snickers Gap Christmas Tree Farm in Round Hill.

After a few hours of decorating, we would turn off all the lights — except the tree lights — and watch it sparkle, while our favorite carols played in the background. I remember feeling engulfed by the warmth and coziness of the season. Although my siblings and I didn’t realize it at the time, we were sowing traditions and deepening the roots that bound us together as a family.

Cal Reid holds on to mother Yetta’s hand while they hunt for a tree.

Cal Reid holds on to mother Yetta’s hand while they hunt for a tree.

I don’t remember most of the gifts I received as a child, but I do remember the traditions we fostered — opening the advent calendar each morning, decorating cookies with my grandmother, hanging our stockings from the mantel, wearing red Christmas pajamas. These moments are forever sealed in my mind as moments filled with love and wonder and family. I live hundreds of miles from my parents now, but my husband and I have begun our own holiday traditions. One of my favorites is our tree-cutting outing.

Ian Reid prepares to chop down a tree while son Cal looks on.

Ian Reid prepares to chop down a tree while son Cal looks on.

Tree Cutting Essentials

Spending an afternoon at a local tree farm is a wonderful way to create family memories while basking in the season. Taking time to enjoy the outdoors can also serve as a refreshing break from the busyness of the holidays.

The perfect winter picnic, complete with hot chocolate and homemade cookies.

The perfect winter picnic, complete with hot chocolate and homemade cookies.

Having trouble finding a tree? Take a break by spreading out a blanket and an assortment of holiday snacks, and reminiscing about favorite Christmas memories. Or decide on a new tradition to start this year.

Yetta Reid enjoys a cup of hot chocolate while her husband Ian looks on.

Yetta Reid enjoys a cup of hot chocolate while her husband Ian looks on.

Whether your tree will be decorated by a squad of loved ones or just by you, make the moment special by playing Christmas carols or a favorite movie in the background (my recommendations are “The Santa Clause,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” or “Elf”). Whip up some homemade eggnog, fill a plate with your favorite sugar cookies, and light candles around the house. ML

Photo styling by Chelsea Rose Moore.