Sounds of the winter holidays: O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree
“Alright, is this the tree that we want?”
Brad Hale looks to his family for approval. There’s been some dispute. His daughters Lillie and Isla wanted a different tree.
“It was fun and round,” Isla says of another one she and her sister had been excited about.
“And I like those types of trees.”
“It was unique,” their mother, Hannah, jumps in. “But I think it would have exceeded the space that we have for it.”
So the Hales have found a smaller, albeit still round, tree at the Shelby Christmas Tree Farm in Shelbyville. And while there’s some disappointment, it appears things have been settled.
“Someone kind of grab it right here and hold it so it doesn't just fall and break branches,” Brad says as he prepares a small saw to cut down the winning tree, thus continuing the family tradition of live trees for Christmas in their Crestwood home.
This month, LPM News is exploring the sounds and melodic rituals of the winter holiday season. And, as the Hales’ outing demonstrates, procuring the perfect Christmas tree can be a negotiation among family members, a long-standing tradition and a source of holiday cheer.
Owner Vivek Sarin, who started the tree farm in 2009, says he and his family have cut down their Christmas trees for decades.
“For my wife and I, what was important to us is that we established some deep traditions in raising our kids,” he says. “Those traditions get seared into our brains, our hearts, and it's what makes family and friendship special.”
While talking, Sarin holds an ax in his hands. It’s the ax his family has used to chop down their trees for more than 25 years. Each year, the person who gives the final blow gets their name etched into the tool’s handle. Sarin says it’s become “quite the competition” for who gets this honor within his family.
On the other side of the farm, Ann McNally ties down trees stacked on a small truck trailer. The trees have been donated for McNally’s project Light a Tree for Christmas. These pines and spruces will go to a shelter in Jeffersonville, Ind. that offers transitional housing to domestic violence survivors and vulnerable families.
“A lot of people when they leave in those situations don't have anything. And I just want to make sure they have a good Christmas,” McNally says.