An Im­per­fect Christ­mas

Arabella - - NEWS - Cyn­thia Reyes

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You’d think I would have known bet­ter. Our fam­ily has a track record of small calami­ties ev­ery Christ­mas, but there I was again, plan­ning the per­fect Christ­mas sea­son for my fam­ily.

Char­lie Brown Tree

Christ­mas that year was spent at my hus­band’s fam­ily’s farm, way out in the coun­try­side east of Toronto. It was a hun­dred-acre farm, and the ev­er­green trees grew down "in the back forty", as lo­cal farm­ers de­scribed the far­thest reaches of their property. "We should go down and cut a tree," my hus­band said, eyes smil­ing with an­tic­i­pa­tion. "Of course," I said. "Why spend money on a tree when we have so many right here at the farm?" We in­vited our two daugh­ters to ac­com­pany us, but they wisely de­clined. It was, af­ter all, a cold day, and it had snowed the day be­fore. No need to ask our pet dog, Bar­clay, if he wanted to walk in the snow. He loved it. We clipped on his leash and set out. It was a bright sunny day, and though the snow some­times made it dif­fi­cult to walk down­hill, we chat­ted as we went, laugh­ing at Bar­clay’s an­tics in the snow. We scru­ti­nized the trees, re­ject­ing some be­cause they were too big, too small, or

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