Party Members: A family of four, ranging in age from 3 to 46.

Destination: Meissner Sno-Park, 14 miles west of Bend.

Weather: Rain falling on snow

Transportation: Snowshoes (never before worn by youngest family members).

Time it takes to actually get out into snowshoes and out of the parking lot: 30 minutes.

Plan of Action: Wander around aimlessly carrying sharp objects until a tree of adequate imperfectness reveals itself.

Number of circles in the woods walked: 5.

Number of times 3-year-old trips on snowshoes and must be retrieved from full face-plant in the snow: 11.

Number of times 5-year old climbs a snow mound and leaps off, screaming like a maniac and crashing into the soggy snow, arms akimbo: 7.

Percent of totally drenched everyone is within 10 minutes: 99%.

Number of times Dad says, “This one’s not quite right. I think we should keep looking”: 6.

Number of times Mom wishes she were back in the truck with her book: 4.

Natural beauty of surrounding mixed-conifer woods covered in winter’s first snow, on a scale of one to 10: 9.

Beauty of fir tree fallen, on a scale of one to 10: 2.

Number of family members who care that we’ve chosen the ugliest tree in the woods: 0.

Smiles on kid’s faces: huge.

Number of ornaments immediately broken upon commencement of decorating: 4.

Number of times tree falls completely over before Dad figures out the stand: 3.

Number of times someone laughs so hard they start snorting: 3.

Amount of fun had by kids, on a scale of one to 10: 9.

Amount of fun had by adults on a scale of one to 10: 5.

Amount of fun remembered later on a scale of one to 10: 10.

Chance we’ll do it all again next year: 100%.

Value of the Oregon Christmas tree cutting tradition: Much more priceless than gold, frankincense, myrrh and a tray full of hot toddys.

Christmas trees may be cut on most U.S. Forest Service land in Oregon, with restrictions and with a permit. Buy a permit for $5 at any U.S.F.S. office or various retail outlets.

About the Author: Kim Cooper Findling

Kim Cooper Findling grew up on the Oregon Coast but became a Central Oregon girl in the mid-90s, taking in the sunny skies and never looking back (expect a few wistful glances at the ocean). She is the editor of “Central Oregon Magazine” and the author of “Day Trips From Portland: Getaway Ideas for the Local Traveler” and “Chance of Sun: An Oregon Memoir.” Catch her around the state sampling microbrews, hiking river trails, taking silly pictures with her iPhone, and camping with her husband and two daughters in the family tent trailer, Brutus.

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