Dispatches: Bringing The Outside In

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The tradition continued this past weekend. We went a-hunting for the Annual Krajnak Christmas Tree.

I’m a big fan of the fresh-cut Christmas Tree. It’s fun to go out and pick it out (beats taking it out of a box). It makes the house smell nice.

And there’s nothing quite like the struggle and wrestle to get the outside in.

Yep, memories.

When I was a kid, I remember a few times we’d go to cut down the tree ourselves. We’d bring it home and my dad would put it in a pail of water till we were ready to put it up. At least once the water froze. Not sure why we didn’t just bring it when we brought it home. But once it was up, it would make the house smell good for a few days and it felt like the holidays had started.

Getting the tree, then putting it up, was always one of the highlights of the season for me. Hopefully, me and my wife are making the same memories for out kids.

This year for the hunt, though, we were two people down. Kraj Kid #3 had a pretty rough respiratory infection, and spent most of Saturday in the hospital. My wife was with him. He never did need to be admitted, but because they were still doing tests and where home, Mom and Matt weren’t able to go get the tree with us.

So, long about 4 p.m. on Saturday, me and Kraj Kid #1 and Kraj Kid #2 climbed in the truck to go harvest our tree. Wasn’t far – we went up the road about 1/2 mile to Westhaven Farm. I really like going there, being a good neighbor. We buy veggies from them in summer, pumpkins in the fall and now, hopefully, a new tradition to get the family Christmas tree from them in December.

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Under fleeting skies and dropping temps, we jumped out of the truck. I came armed with two things: A saw and my camera. Gloves would have been nice too, but alas…



Here comes a man with a plan, the guy said. He’s got his camera and his tool.

While we waited for the tractor to come take out out to the sweet spot of the trees, the kids nibbled sugar cookies as the cold air escaped their mouths. Chill started to creep in, and the fire burning in the kettle wasn’t doing much except making us smell like smoke. Finally, the tractor, our steed, our transportation, arrived.


Eventually, we rolled way out to the Douglas Firs. Winter’s late afternoon was firmly setting in.

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It’s always tough to pick the tree when Wife/Mom isn’t there. It’s a decision fraught with anxiety and questions. Finally, I left it up to Olivia. She picked the one she liked. The tree was a little chubby, maybe, but Chase was starting to complain his hands were cold (Dad forgot his gloves, too.) and the sun was dipping low.

Time to measure once, cut once and get this baby home.

I felled the monster and Liv helped wrangle the beast back to the tractor.

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We did our appointed duty, and the kids posed proudly with their trophy.

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Later that evening, my wife and Matt came home. I wrestled the prickly beast inside, stood it up tall and proud in the stand. Only tipped once (I caught it.)

The next evening, evening, while some of my homemade chicken soup bubbled, and Christmas carols played on the iPod (Dominic The Donkey seems to be a fav this year), Leslie and kids decorated our new addition.

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We brought the outside in. We helped out the local farm community. We had our Christmas tree.

It’s Christmas time in New Jersey.

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2013

6 thoughts on “Dispatches: Bringing The Outside In

  1. I loved this post so so so much, Having grown up in Singapore (tiny, over crowded tropical city) and then lived in Perth, where 40 degrees celsius on Christmas day is fairly normal, I’ve never ever had a fresh cut Christmas tree, only heard stories like this one about them. 2 weeks to Christmas – that certainly rolled around fast!

    • Glad you liked the post, Charlene. We usually buy the pre-cut Xmas trees – still fresh, but not downed by my two hands. This year, we went the full monty route. Maybe somewhere in your time-traveling, world hopping you’ll get the chance to do it!

  2. Loved this post Mark! Beautiful homey images. I can almost smell the fir tree scent as I sit here at my computer. Olivia picked well! Thanks for displaying the beauty of our beloved NJ.

  3. Pingback: Weekend Shot: Even More Gone | JerseyStyle Photography

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