One of my favorite traditions growing up occurred every single year the day after Thanksgiving, and it wasn’t Black Friday shopping :) We would all pile into the car, Grandma and Grandpa in theirs, and sometimes some cousins, and we’d drive for about an hour until we had barely crossed the Nevada-California border into an area called Dog Valley. There, there were wide open fields and tall evergreen forests, and hardly any other people. My dad would grab his saw and a couple of bright orange permit tags and we’d spread out, going our own ways, to find the perfect Christmas tree. Some years we’d find our tree within minutes, and other times it would take a few hours, but we would each find a favorite tree, take an unofficial vote as to which one was the best, and saw it down to take home.

More recently, I have a new favorite memory to tie into our yearly Christmas tree adventure. Two years ago, I went down to Spanish Fork to get a permit for my own family (just me and Everett, or so we thought). The same year we also had the opportunity to go to Sparks for Thanksgiving, so I got to show Everett how we did it every year growing up. When the day came, though, I was EXHAUSTED. I couldn’t figure out why! I had slept 11 hours or so the night before, but I felt like I had been run over by a truck and was having a hard time feeling up for running around the forest like we usually did. While we were looking for a tree, it hit me that I might be carrying the baby we had been praying for for so long. Long story short, it turns out that I was pregnant, and I didn’t tell anyone at the time, but it’s so fun to go back and look at the pictures and remember the secret excitement I was feeling inside!

When we got home from our trip to Nevada, Everett and I went out past Eureka, Utah, to get our own tree. It was almost the same story, us running around with a saw, picking a few favorites, and finally settling on the one perfect tree, except this time we both new we had a baby coming! I love my family traditions, the memories they’ve left me, and the new memories they help me create!