This year's family Christmas tree, seen above, is a balsam. For the past several years, our tree has been either a Fraser fir or a balsam. They have the requisite Christmas tree smell that seems to be missing from scotch pines and norway and white pines and spruces. Several years ago, in a pique of "living off the landness," or something, my wife and daughter reduced to possession one of the blue spruces living on our property. That tree was pretty enough, but hazardous to decorate or remove. I've never dealt with such sharp and solid needles. It did teach the dog not to chew on trees in the house. Anyhow, the trees we've bought the past several years have been grown and cut on a local (next county over) family owned tree farm in My Minnesota. There are other tree farms closer to home, but they don't have either balsams or frasers of a height needed to reach our ceiling with just enough room left for the angel. Our angel is a flasher and sings of the coming of Christmas regardless of what Benedict XVI has recently written. I'm also hanging tough on animals in the stable. If animals weren't kept in it, why was it called a stable?