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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Jingle Bell Blog Fest: Rie McGaha

Click here and tell us how many kids went to find the perfect tree for a chance to win a  $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift certificate.

The Christmas Bush

As the mom of 12 we have some pretty awesome holidays but there is one in particular that I think of every year. It's the year we had a Christmas bush.

Because we had more kids than money we always tried to do something special for our kids at holiday time. The day after Thanksgiving my husband packed up the kids and took them to cut the tree while I stayed home baking cookies and making hot chocolate to enjoy while decorating the tree.

We lived in a low altitude valley in northern California where it rarely snowed but we were surrounded by mountains that often got several feet. The kids especially enjoyed going for looking for the perfect tree so they could play in the snow. This particular holiday we only had five kids left at home and the two youngest were sick. So my husband took the three oldest, along with my oldest daughter's friend, and off they went to find the perfect tree. I remained home with the sick ones and they helped make cookies.

When at last we heard the sounds of a vehicle followed by shouts of laughter, we went out the back door to the porch. There on top of my mini van was a tree that hung over the length of the van on both ends. The tree wouldn't begin to fit in the living room. And bent over with laughter was my husband and children. I asked what they were thinking and this is what they told me.

They went up the mountain road and had to put chains on because the snow was a lot deeper than first thought. While my husband kept his eyes on the trail that served as a road, the kids kept their eyes out for the perfect tree. When they at last found one, my husband stopped the van and they all bailed out. My husband grabbed the axe and because the snow was so deep, he had our daughter and her friend hold the tree while he chopped it down. Everything went well and the girls let the tree fall over. My husband went to trim some of the branches off the end and when he stepped over a pile of snow just inches from where he stood to chop the tree, he stepped onto nothing and slid about thirty feet. He had chopped off the top of a thirty-foot tall fir tree growing down the embankment.

Back home the tree was trimmed to fit in the living room but when we got it set up we wound up moving the furniture to one side of the room to accommodate the limbs, which took up over half the room. By the time we got it decorated, we were all laughing about the incident. When the older kids came to visit, the grandkids thought the tree was there to play in and played hide and seek in the branches.

The year of the Christmas Bush is one of my favorite holiday memories and every time we play remember when at least one of the kids will say, "Hey, Mom. Do you remember the Christmas Bush?" And we laugh all over again.

Author Bio: Rie McGaha is a multi-published author, the mother of twelve and Nana of thirty-three. She lives in SE Oklahoma in a multi-generational home with her husband, Nathan, daughter, Lisa, son-in-law Mike and granddaughter, Meagan. She has nine dogs and three cats that are all rescues. Rie would like to remind everyone to please spay and neuter you animals to prevent unwanted litters that only result in overpopulation and mistreatment of animals.

You can find out more about Rie's books at


marybelle said...

I laughed with joy at The Christmas Bush. It's fun to pick out the perfect tree each year. One of my favourite traditions too.

Rie McGaha said...

Thank you, Marybelle. I have so many memories with my kids but this one will always be my favorite. I even have pictures of the grandkids hiding in the tree! :)

Janice said...

Ah, that's a great family memory. Thank you for sharing it.