This story and tradition is perhaps fitting as my first CEO blog entry. It all started in California in 1991 and has continued in Colorado. Our young family was out to the Christmas Tree farm in Moorpark, and as we marched up and down the rows of trees, searching for the perfect tree, one very hideous looking tree caught our eye. We surrounded the tree and laughed out loud together, then moved on. Well, all of the family except for me moved on. I couldn’t help but reflect momentarily upon the joy of this occasion. This tree brought us all a smile and laughter. Yes, it was hideous in the world’s eyes, but it brought us joy for that moment. I couldn’t help myself, me having the saw and all, and as I started cutting down that tree, Ginger (my wife) came screaming back “Noooooooooo”—-but it was too late. The owner of the farm searched me out as I was tying the tree to the roof of our VW Van (yes, I’m a hippy at heart)—”I had to shake the hand of the man who had the courage to take that tree”. My wife still fuming, we drove home to decorate. Even my wonderful Jewish neighbor came out to the front yard while I was hosing it down to ask “What is that?” “Our Christmas tree” I replied, and so the tradition began. Over the years, it has become one of our favorite family traditions, filled with symbolism. Each unique tree has been given a name, and when they are decorated, they do become beautiful. I have included a couple of our favorites, one from 2004 which we called “Rudolf” you can see why. This one grew out of the ground exactly like it is situated on the custom made stand. The most recent one is called “The Giving Tree”, because last year someone topped it, leaving the rest (and to us the best)—hence it’s given twice!
- “Rudolf” – 2004
What ever your faith, this Holiday time is a refreshing step back from a very challenging year for many of us. I hope the symbolism of our Christmas tree tradition, of looking beyond the first impression and seeing the possibilities of good and wonder beyond, will help us find in 2009 those “diamonds in the rough”.