Operation Christmas Tree

Christmas this year was all about initiative and hardcore family tradition.  The boys turned a corner, whereby they transitioned from being passive pawns in our larger plans of "the Christmas experience", to being the driving force and dictators of events. 

Christmas this year arrived with a cold snap a few days beforehand, and we found ourselves in the country in minus 15 degrees, with a windchill factor of minus 500.  Or maybe it was 1500.  That night we slept in front of the fire, partly for warmth and partly so that we could stack it with wood every couple of hours and heat the house up quickly.  In the morning, when the house was only 12 degrees warm despite our efforts (and sleep deprivation), we suggested to the boys that we may have to abort and celebrate Christmas eve in Saldus at their grandparents' house.  "NOOOOOOO!!!" their sad little voices wailed.  "We ALWAYS have Christmas in the country!!!  We can't have Christmas ANYWHERE ELSE!!!", they cried, as they shivered and put on layers of extra woolly socks.

So we kept on heating, and ignoring Mikus' insistence at going out to chop down our Christmas tree in the local forest. Eventually it was moving towards afternoon and Jem gave in to the begging, packed the boys into the car and drove through the blizzard (yes, by now there was also a blizzard) to try to find a Christmas tree.  After almost getting bogged in the middle of nowhere in the snowstorm, with no chance to stop the car or turn it around on account of all the snowdrifts, Jem gently suggested we buy a tree at the market in town.  "NOOOOOO!!!!!" our little traditionalists screamed.  "We ALWAYS get our own tree!!!  We can't POSSIBLY buy a tree from the MARKET!!!".

So the boys devised a plan B - leave the car at the house, and WALK to the nearby forest to get the tree.  And lash it to a sled.  And drag it home.  Jem - poor sucker - agreed to their plan, and our heroes set out in the darkness, through the swirling snowflakes, with miners lights strapped to their heads - operation Christmas tree had begun.

Amazingly, everything from that moment on went well.  The tree was chosen, cut down, dragged home along the road, dodging snow plows and occasional cars.  What totally stunned us was the fact that the boys were the ones to motivate, organize and execute everything this year.  Up until now, we have had to encourage and cajole them into really taking part - into decorating the tree, help putting it up, making gingerbread etc.  This year they insisted on trudging out in inhuman conditions to make sure tradition was observed - and Jem says that neither of them complained, not even when Mikus was literally up to his waist in snow.

So there your go!  Turns out that the combination of Dutch stubbornness, Latvian tradition-observance and Australian spunkiness makes fine young male specimens!  If I do say so myself...

Here's hoping y'all had a wonderful Christmas with your own minor miracles - no matter how hot, or snowy it might have been.

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