We trimmed our tree last night. Don't usually do it this early, but the oldest was home from college and we decided to get 'er done. Haley's friends gave her the tree as her Christmas gift. It was amazingly sweet of them. They know that money is beyond tight for us this year.
The tree Phil and Clay picked out is lovely. They did a very good job. In the old days we all went to pick out the tree, but as the kids have gotten older, that has gotten harder to pull off. Now, we trust those who do go to pick out a good one.
The date of our Christmas tree trimming has also changed over the years. At one time we did it on December 1st, but then 19 years ago we added a baby on the 5th. We backed it up to December 6th because we learned while studying about Saint Nicholas that that was his day. But, at some point we let that go.
That's the thing about traditions. They are great if you don't let them control you or others around you. If your traditions are creating a lot of stress for you and/or your loved ones, then let them be tweaked enough to provide peace.
We do follow a pattern when decorating the tree, but that has changed a bit over the years. The lights go on first, of course. Then some of the decorations from our first tree go up. Among those are the chili pepper lights Phil and I bought in Durango twenty some-odd years ago. There are fabric hearts I sewed and stuffed and little red hearts. I guess our first tree had a heart theme.
The kids harass each other about proper placement of these first ornaments then the real fun begins. Each child elbows for their choice spot. Corinn insists that her 1994 picture bell ornament gets put front and center. The other kids move it when she isn't looking or put their ornaments in front of her's. And the most fun is had over Haley's "heart". I'm not sure what year it came into being, but it has been made fun of ever since.
This year Haley got to laughing over Aaron's nativity scene he drew at age 5. He gave everyone belly buttons.
The last thing to go on is the Angel. Phil and I looked in every Christmas store we could find before we found the perfect angel. She is beautiful. As Phil puts her on, one of the kids hits the lights.
Then we end with moose shaped chocolate dipped shortbread cookies and "shlog" or eggnog as most people know it. Phil reads the Christmas story out of the gospels. Clay had lots of questions this year.
On their best behavior.
Their true selves.