Farm GateFarm creates country-style Christmas
I love this time of year. My infatuation with the holiday season seems fitting for a Christmas Eve baby who literally traveled home from the hospital in a Christmas stocking. I’m so in love with the Christmas season that my husband and I decorated a “wedding tree” at our late-summer reception in the farm shop: a 12-foot scotch pine under which guests placed presents – the tree itself was a gift from the local Christmas tree farm.
I have more Christmas tunes than country songs in my playlist. I own a half dozen full-size artificial trees (and a few little ones). And I’m one of those who decorates before Thanksgiving. I figure that if I can decorate with pumpkins for six weeks or more, then the greenery deserves as much time out of the box. To back my decision, experts in the field of psychology say that decorating for Christmas early makes some people happier, spiking feel-good hormones. I’ll sacrifice a solar spotlight to illuminate that message of glad tidings.
Regardless of when I pull out the ceramic light-up barns, the farm intertwines with our holiday. I’m a sucker for any Christmas decorations with farm influences, such as wrapping paper dotted with chickens wearing Santa hats and wooden trees made of reclaimed barn board. I use a rusty old hog feed pan as a table centerpiece filled with pine cones from the farm windbreak. A string of corn cob lights and a collection of tractor ornaments adorn the tree in our bedroom.
Meanwhile, the old runner sled on display outside the front door reminds me of Grandpa’s hill in the cattle pasture.
The Christmas music starts in our home after Halloween or at the end of harvest, whichever comes first. That mega farm task otherwise siphons any pleasure of celebrating the season. It yields only guilty joy to crank the holiday tunes while knowing the crops are still out there. For some evidence of that, reminisce about 2009 and cue Blue Christmas when you do. That year’s dreadfully late corn harvest extended beyond Christmas for most of us in farm country.
With a thick black line through “Harvest 2018” on the done list, I stream the Christmas tunes above the relentless blare of the bin fan outside. We wrap up production records, pay the year’s final bills, plan the farm holiday party and enjoy some downtime, outside of a few cattle and chicken chores.
May you celebrate a blessed Christmas season filled with joyful moments.
About the author: Joanie Stiers, a wife and mother of two farm kids, writes from west-central Illinois, where her family grows corn, soybeans and hay and raises beef cattle.