Today was the beginning of Christmas at our house. It was the Clark annual outing to our local farm to choose an appropriate tree and bring it home ready to decorate sometime between now and the big day.

Christmas is all about tradition and this particular one started four years ago. Before then we bought our tree from wherever was convenient, with varying degrees of success. After a particular poor year with a specimen that was more twig than tree by Christmas Eve, we decided that a change of tack was required. And so began the new tradition. We had driven passed the farmer’s sign hundreds of times and never stopped. But we decided to drive down the bumpy track and take a look.

And now, armed with wellies, gloves and a trusty saw, we pile out of the car and off up a muddy track to the Christmas tree fields. It is always muddy. Never once has the ground been dry under foot. The mud adds to the excitement as far as the children are concerned. The muddier the better.

Selecting the right tree is always a challenge. No more than 7 feet tall, not too bushy but with evenly spaced branches and a nice straight top for the star. It’s amazing how small seven feet looks when you are in a wood. Every year the children complain that the tress that I am eyeing up are way too small but experience wins over excitement and we have never yet bought a tree that doesn’t fit.

The saw is wielded and the tree is chopped down and carried back to the farmhouse, all the children helping. We then pay the farmer, bagging some eggs as part of the deal. The tree is strapped precariously to the roof of the car and home we head. It would be so much easier to buy the tree at the pop up shop down the road, But where is the fun in that? And where the memories? One year our son, who was two at the time, was mobbed by a flock of geese and had to be rescued by his intrepid sister. We look for the geese every year although they haven’t tried to eat my children again. But the children will remember that for years to come and isn’t that what being a child is all about? Learning through experiences and putting the world into context by what you see around you.

So Christmas begins. Bring it on!