Sister Uchtdorf shares memories of a Christmas tree

The Weihnachtsbaum, as we call the Christmas tree in Germany, has been a special part of our family celebration as long as I can remember.

My parents often told me the stories about the evergreen Christmas tree and the certain magic surrounding it. When all other trees turned brown and lost their leaves, the evergreen stayed strong and visibly alive. It was like a symbol of life and hope, a message from nature that spring and summer would certainly return after a long winter season. Additionally, the flickering of real wax candle lights seemed like stars twinkling in the winter sky.

After I was married and had my own family, my husband and I would choose a perfect winter day, with cold crisp air and no clouds in the sky, to take our two children into a nearby forest to select our Christmas tree.

It was always a process of selecting the most special tree, which would feel just right for us. It had to have character. And that is exactly how it turned out to be almost every Christmas season. We selected and cut down a tree with an imperfect but special appearance, fitting nicely into our family. Oh, how we loved the fresh pine fragrance the tree brought into our home. Shortly before Christmas Eve, or sometimes exactly on this day, all of us got together and decorated the Christmas tree. We used glass balls, sweets and a huge variety of homemade straw stars as ornaments.

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