Monday, December 5, 2011

December in the Auvergne – the Christmas spirit arrives in our home

Another Latvian Christmas carol sings “Bagāti Ziemassvētki no Rīgas nāca: trīs simti sulaiņi bruņoti līdz,” a wealthy Christmas came from Rīga (the capital of Latvia), three hundred guards along with it .

Our visitors came from Chatenet, not Rīga, and although they were three not three hundred, they brought along with them the Christmas spirit and a wonderful start to the holiday season. Arriving with a beautiful holly wreath that now holds the advent candles, food from their garden and a sac full of presents, their timing couldn’t be more perfect.

Friday I came down with some 24-hour bug, and we almost cancelled at the last minute after I found myself laid out on the couch before noon. Luckily, after consulting our guests they decided they would travel anyway, risking the possibility of contracting what I had in order to help with Lauris and assist Roberts in a few tasks I wouldn’t be able to be of aid with. They arrived just in time, taking over the duty of watching Lauris and making dinner.

The next morning is when our guests really proved their weight in gold. As I rested, my husband, Lauris and our Chatenet guests left on a difficult assignment; to find our first French Christmas tree. My hopes were that they would find something a little taller than the 3-4 ft trees I’d been seeing at all the local grocery stores, and they didn’t disappoint.

Testing for "bounce"
As my husband tells the story, at their first stop a salesperson brought out a 3 meter tree wrapped in the mesh wrap and named the price, which was over 100 euro! Knowing how sad I would be if he came home empty handed, he almost bought it; luckily at the urging of the others, he asked to see the tree unwrapped. As the man pulled off the wrapping, a good shower of needles fell, and as he pulled at the branches, even more dropped. Finally, he gave it a good tap and when the pile on the floor doubled, they decided that this tree wouldn’t survive the trip home.

The next stop proved to be the final stop. After the first experience my husband was worried that this might be The Most Expensive Tree Ever, and so when they saw the 27 euro price tag on a 10+ ft tree at a tree lot, they assumed it would be per meter. The salesperson quickly assured them that the price could not be right, but when she returned came the nicest surprise; it was actually 4 euro less than the sign said!

Note: saws were not actually used in close proximity to children!

Needless to say, the five were soon on their way home with a giant tree somehow strapped to our car (this I wish I had seen!), and as the fathers carried it into the house, the holiday scent of spruce entered along with it. Before long they had it standing in our living room, Christmas lights softly glowing, and I have to say it is The Most Beautiful Tree I have ever had the luck to have in my home. Thank you to my Chatenet elves!


  1. I think we had the exact same experience, except Casino was our fifth and final stop! I was shocked when the lady told us 15 euros!

  2. A great tree. Have fun decorating.

  3. Cik jauki, ka ir tādi draugi!


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