When our son, David, was not even a year old, we put him in the back pack and trudged through knee – high snow to find our Christmas tree. It’s been a family tradition every year since. We’ve come to call it an “F.F.O”, which on a good day can stand for Fun Family Outing; on a testy day it can stand for Forced Family Outing. In the 22 years since then, we have never succumbed to buying our tree; we’ve always harvested it ourselves. When I suggested this morning that we go on an adventure to find a tree, I could tell that the willingness to participate was a bit forced. Nevertheless, we agreed it needed to be done with less than two weeks until Christmas. We had huge winds this spring when the ground was wet and then again in the fall. As a result, many healthy pine trees blew over but didn’t completely die because some of the roots were still attached. Our goal was to find the top of one of these trees to cut off and bring home. The tree certainly wouldn’t live through another summer, so we would be enhancing its demise for some mere personal enjoyment. Our philosophy over the years has been to cut a tree only if its absence would improve the life of its neighbor. As a result, we’ve had some pretty scraggly trees, but we haven’t felt guilty about cutting them down. This year is no exception. We haven’t brought it inside yet, but I have a feeling we’ll need to drill some holes in the trunk to insert some additional branches. I’m sure that by the time we begin decorating it and smelling the fragrance of the branches, the minor pains of the FFO will have worn off; we’ll remember the laughter as Spencer pulled on a rope that toppled Hannah into that big snow bank, and we’ll say once again that it’s the prettiest tree ever.