My Traditional Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

Coming Home in the Half Moon Light

Coming Home in the Half Moon Light

My folks, rather bravely I think, came up from their home in the the Florida of Canada, the Okanagan Valley, for the holidays.  I’ve been so very excited to see them and they arrived today.  My mom did send a text en route, from the Edmonton airport, telling me my dad had decided to go to Cancun instead, as he hates the cold, but in the end, he came too.   It seems like all the other travelers today were going to Cancun, not north to Yellowknife.  How strange. It was a rather inauspicious arrival for them – we couldn’t make it to the airport to meet them.  The truck would not start in the – 30 weather.   So they had to take a taxi.  My mom just laughed when I phoned to tell her.  “Perfect”, she said.  “What a wonderful story”.  And the great thing is, she meant it.

Before The Walk

Mom and Dad, Before The Walk

Today was also the day we went out to get our Christmas tree.  We haven’t had a chance to get it before today, so we decided to wait until my folks arrived so they could enjoy it too.  Well, maybe not enjoy, exactly, but at least be there.  When we were cross country skiing earlier this week we saw a smallish tree with more branches than normal quite near by – just across the lake from our place.  The trees here are spindly and thin, but we only have a narrow spot for it in any case.  I never spend much time looking for the perfect tree, and this year was no exception – it was the second one we saw, on the edge of the lake.  But it’s the right height and as I say, more than the average number of branches.  Perfect!

My parents were game, so after putting on all the clothes they brought, plus our fancy parkas, face masks, warmest boots, hot shots, and our new cold weather gloves – (fit for Everest or an Arctic expedition according to the label – a trip to cut down a Christmas tree in Yellowknife is a kind of pseudo-expedition, and we are sub-Arctic, so its nearly the same thing, I’m sure.  As soon as I saw those gloves in the store I had to have them. And they are wonderful!)



We walked across the lake – well, more of a waddle really – I imagine that is what two year old Canadian children in winter feel like, all bundled up in their snowsuits so they can hardly move.  It was a fairly short walk in a beautiful fading light.  It was quick work to saw down the small tree.  And then the best part of all – our dog Kona brought it home by sleigh!  I was planning and hoping that he would pull the sled, but as he’s never done it before, I wasn’t at all sure.  He was quite good at it really, and oh so cute in his little red boots.  (The boots are meant to keep the snow from balling up between his toe pads.  It’s a work in progress.)



I Am Too A Sled Dog!

After the Walk!

After the Walk!

After the Walk!

At Least Her Hands Are Warm!

Back at home, we had a bit of trouble getting the tree to stay straight and tall in the stand.  During this time husband Martin was suggesting we should have an artificial tree.  Yes, I said, then I could write a post on my blog about how we went to Canadian Tire, purchased a tree with our credit card, and brought it home in the back of the truck.  How interesting!  How romantic!  Over my dead body!

For me a Christmas tree is not about having a perfect tree, a color coordinated tree, or a convenient tree.  Its about the experience, the process of selecting a tree, always with a loved one, usually growing wild and in the forest, (usually a Charlie Brown tree, but whatever!) and then decorating it.  I’ve had many of my decorations for years and years, many of them given to me.  The collection of antique balls that were my Grandma’s.  The ball my aunt Mona made me, with a pansy from my Grandad’s garden.  The crocheted snowflakes from my other Grandma.  The gifts from friends and room mates from medical school days.  The hand made tatted snowflakes from a doctor colleague in northern BC.  The mini yak bell I brought from a lovely old woman along a lonely trail in the Everest region in Nepal – because I was pretty sure she wasn’t going to get any other customers that day.  The mini mukluks a nurse gave me last year from the Arctic, when we both worked Christmas day in Nelson.  At that time I never imagined I’d be having a Christmas in Yellowknife.  All these stories, all these people – a lifetime’s worth.  And they are all here in Yellowknife with me.  This is the spirit of Christmas.  So as long as I live, as long as I celebrate Christmas, I’ll have a real tree, and as long as I can walk, I’ll be cutting it down from the forest myself.


Merry Christmas everyone!  Wishing you all a holiday season filled with love and the creation of new memories, to keep you warm for a lifetime.  With much love from sub-Arctic Yellowknife.

Charlie Brown Lives Here

Charlie Brown Lives Here

About Tandi

I love my morning coffee, reading, the wilderness, paddling, poetry, my Spanish husband, and being a doctor. I also love writing my blog, and reading yours.
This entry was posted in Family Matters, North of 60, photos and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to My Traditional Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

  1. Lynne McFetridge says:

    Lovely Tandi! The pictures are fabulous and your tree is gorgeous – not unlike our Charlie Brown number cut down in the back yard two days ago. Mom is here with us. We are excited to be hosting a wedding at our house tomorrow evening. Merry Christmas to you and Martin and your mom and dad.

    • Tandi says:

      Hi Lynne

      I would love to see your tree. And dear Ms Myrt of course. Say hello and hugs from us. A wedding sounds exciting – anyone I know?

      Happy holidays. 🙂

  2. Karen Minogue says:

    Howdy friends….We all drove out to Mum and Dads today for our early Christmas Lunch. The thermometer read +30 on the drive out and I checked Yellowknife at the same time it was-30. Dad was on the verandah cooking fresh prawns, by then the afternoon was a very warm +38. What a contras! Love your tree and love the pictures. Take care Karen

    • Tandi says:

      Hi Karen. An Aussie barbecue sounds wonderful! When I read your comment to dad he said “that’s where we should be”! Have a great holiday and birthday!

  3. shoreacres says:

    Ah, those snow suits! I had one, and in fact still have a photo around somewhere of me all bundled up in it, arms straight out.

    What a marvelous tree! I understand perfectly about the ornaments. I have some that hung on our trees when I was a child, and some that have been collected in the course of travels. Every stage of my life is represented somehow, and it makes tree-decorating a true exercise in memory-making.

    I must say – you’re making some remarkable memories yourself, just in the process of getting and decorating your tree. Love your wonderful dog helping out with the process!

    • Tandi says:

      I’m curious about why you had a snow suit in Texas. Is it cold there?

      Yes, I’ll always remember this Christmas. I’m so lucky to have such great parents. They are always up for adventure.

      Happy holidays to you!!

  4. Mona says:

    Thanks for the beautiful story & pictures..what memories aye?
    Imagine, and Mom didn’t want any of those Yellowknife eyelashes—she looks beautiful in them but can’t imagine what she’ll look like at the end of their visit.
    What happened to Ginger on this trip? Couldn’t get her coat on in time or is she the smart one staying home?
    BEAUTIFUL TREE, those are the memories of Fernie growing up I sure miss.
    Have a wonderful Christmas and keep the pictures coming.
    Love to all

    • Tandi says:

      Ginger stays home now except for short walks. She gets too cold, and stiff if she walks too far. She is a senior citizen now! Still happy and we are really enjoying her gentle nature.

      I am so happy to still be creating Christmas memories with mom and. Dad. Today mom was zooming around on my kick sled! Fun. I’ll show you a photo. Tomorrow we are going sledding with real dogs.

  5. Dane Allison says:

    Love your tree and special traditions. Our Christmas will be tree-less as there are no trees here to cut down. However we did start a new tradition this year making ice candles. Wishing you lots more good times. Dane & Patty, Arviat, NU

    • Tandi says:

      Oh dear! No tree and no Walmart either for a fake one I bet! I saw your candle lights and they are lovely. I was hoping to do something similar but never managed to. Along with Christmas cards, Christmas baking and promoting world peace. I have at least got the gifts and still have a day to wrap them. Sometimes it’s fun just to forget about all those things. Happy northern holidays to you! Have you found Santa’s workshop yet?

  6. Carla says:

    Merry Christmas Tandi, Martin, George and Karen! This story was much better that the fake one from Canadian Tire! Sending you all warm Christmas wishes from Armstrong…

  7. LCVoigt says:

    Your parents are such troopers! Love to see the pics of them toughing it out. Please say hello and Merry Christmas to them from me. Glad to see that Kona is earning his keep too 🙂 We think of you guys often, and I loved seeing the video of your place, thanks for posting that. XOXOXO to all of you, and Merriest of Christmasses!

  8. azucena says:

    que fotos tan bonitas,recuerdos a tus padres,y FELIZ NAVIDAD!!!!!

  9. Kona looks so proud with ‘his’ tree!!

  10. Garry says:

    Belated Christmas greetings, Tandi, Martin, George and Karen !
    Sounds like you are having a memorable time…glad to hear that.
    Stay warm !
    Garry & Sheila

  11. Robin says:

    Couldn’t help myself from laughing out loud seeing my Auntie Karen in a full body snow parka with fur around her head. She does look very cold !! Yikes!!! At least it’s not that cold here in Calgary. With the windchill today it’s only like minus -27 haha I could use one of those parkas too right now.

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