Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"Why is Your Christmas Tree Up Already?"

The neighbors see this in our front room window and are texting Lucinda to find out what is going on.

Let me explain.

It's not that we are trying to be the first in our neighborhood to have our Christmas tree up. In fact, we have a rule in our home (well, actually it's more of a guideline) that we don't put the tree up until after Thanksgiving. So, the fact that there is a Christmas tree currently in our front room in July is highly unusual.

In fact, it's the first time ever.

Back to the explanation.

We got the four trees back last December; they were the last four trees of their kind on sale at the After Christmas Sale at Target. They were all factory sealed in the box and there was no "sample tree" on display to give us an idea of the colors or the textures of the branches or anything. So, we snapped them up anyways. Now, I'm normally pretty particular about my fake trees. You know how some of them on the market can look pretty cheap. We were hoping that because the retail price on these trees was pretty high, that they would turn out to be the better quality of fake trees. The only way to know for sure would be to open one and set it up.

So that's what we did.

I put it up late Saturday night and at first I was disappointed. I was pretty sure that we had bought the crappy, cheap looking trees. Out of the box, the tree looked like a cat that had just been though the washing machine - everything was matted down and stuck together and the needles were not at all what I was expecting. But after some careful work separating the branches and twisting here and turning there it started to look a little better.

My sister, Wendi, and her family came up from Provo this past Sunday. They just got back from a charity trip to Haiti, and we decided it would be a good time to invite them over to see the pictures from their trip. They also brought up some of the ornaments and decorations that they had planned for Brittany and Randy's trees. Lucinda and I brought out the boxes of decorations we had for Vicki and MacLean's trees and we all shared ideas.

Lucinda took the tree that we set up in our living room and tried some garland and ribbons and other ornaments on it just to see how it all looks together. One side of the tree was decked out in the theme for Vicki's tree, the other side was decked out for MacLean's.

We found that we liked the colors we had picked for Vicki's tree better than we had previously thought. There was some concern that they would not look good on the tree. We also like the colors for MacLean's tree although we may add a third color to give it some more depth.

We did have a major concern with MacLean and Brittany's trees. We may have to buy two flocked trees. Do they even make fake flocked trees? We looked on-line to see about flocking the trees we already have, and it's possible, but it may include taking off lights and I really don't want to do that. It sounds way too complicated. So we may be in the market for a couple of seven and a half foot flocked trees now.

But, in the mean time we need to take the Christmas tree out of our front room. It's still way too early to have one up.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

We Got Our Spots.

Now we know where our trees are going to be.

We got an e-mail Saturday afternoon from Frances Morgan, Large Tree Chairwoman for the Festival of Trees. We got the spots we had asked for. We are on Row O - Vicki's Tree will get space O-04; Brittany's Tree is next to her on space O-6; MacLean's is next on O-8; and Randy's Tree is going to be on O-10. Here's a link to the Festival of Trees Map so you can see where they will be.


We were hoping for one of the trees to be on the end - at O-2, but I am OK with where we are at.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Submissions Are In!

The Submissions Are In!

Tonight, Mom and I went onto the Festival of Trees website and submitted the application information for all Four Trees. I hope we did it right. Just to be sure, I sent a quick e-mail to Frances Morgan - she is the Chairperson for the Large Trees this year. I had called her up earlier in the week to let her know who I was and that we were planning on donating four trees this year. She was very nice on the phone and let us know that she would help us out in any way she could.

I realize that it may be early to start thinking about Christmas - heck we are more than 5 months away from Christmas morning (and 129 days away from the Festival of Trees) but we wanted to get the applications in as soon as possible in the hopes that we could arrange to have the Four Trees placed next to each other at the Festival. Frances made it sound like it would not be a problem as long as we sent in the applications early. She told me she had room for about 300-350 trees this year and she already had about 50 submissions. I guess we aren't the only ones thinking about the holidays in July.

The picture I posted above is three of the Four Trees we will be using (the other one is on the other side of the garage). Lucinda and Mom Webb picked them up for about 50% off at the West Jordan Target store the day after last Christmas. At about the same time, my sister Wendi was off at the Orem Target (or was it Provo?) picking up all kinds of ornaments and decorations and wrapping paper. Now we need to go through all of the stuff we have and see what exactly we have.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Welcome to the Four Trees Blog

Welcome to the Four Trees Blog

    We have never done anything like this before.
    Are we crazy?
    Probably, but we are going to do it anyways.
    We are going to donate four Christmas trees to the 2012 Festival of Trees.
    Four trees in honor of my sister, Vicki (Webb) Whittle and her husband, Randy - and their two children, MacLean and Brittany. We lost all of them last year in a plane crash in Burley, Idaho. It was a devastating blow to our family - we have literally been on a roller-coaster ride of emotions this past year as we continue to find ways to deal with it all.
    One of the things we have decided as a family is that we want to continue the legacy that they started. They were big into enjoying life together. The photo shown above is from a trip to Hawaii they were able to go on just a couple of months before the accident.
    They also were very giving. Whether it was their time or their talents or whatever they had - the Whittles were always wlling to lend a hand. It was something that was dear to Vicki's heart - she wanted her children to grow up knowing how fortunate they were, while at the same time knowing how important it was to help out others. Vicki worked with a couple of charities that we know of. She helped out a local boys ranch near her home in Clairemont, California and she helped make hats for children in Mexico undergoing surgery.  
    We as a family wanted to do something to continue the work that the Whittles had started. We have a few ideas in the works - for example Wendi is leaving on Tuesday to do some work at an orphanage in Haiti.
    So, here we go. There is so much work to do. We already have a good start. We have the trees, we have some of the decorations and we have some ideas on how everything is going to look once it's done. This year the Festival kicks off on November 27th, so that gives us just over four months to pull this all together.
    Let's do it.