Earlier in the week, I talked to you about the importance of traditions during the holidays. (Click here to read about Finding Belonging and Community Through Actions Rather than Things)
Our first Christmas tradition is getting a tree. That means hiking up in the mountains and finding the perfect tree: I like them sparse (or minimal as my kids say), not too tall and more on the skinny side.
It’s about an hour drive up to the mountain, we always go with our second family (very good friends) and normally we’re the only ones there. It’s always so still and beautiful, well, until we get there. Most years there is snow, in which all the males proceed to have a snowball fight and white wash the teenagers who for some reason, seem to beg for it.
Meanwhile, I wander in the semi-quiet and admire animal tracks and snow covered fir trees.
Then we make the trek home and get dripped on as the snow melts off the branches while we try to get the tree into the tree stand.
A day or two later we spend an evening decorating the tree.
We use 2 different sized lights- large globes and small globes. They are multicolored and are the closest I could find to the size I grew up with. (The large bulbs that got so hot one could melt tinsel on the bulbs. Oh yes, fun times!)
Then we sit around the table, share our 2 pairs of scissors and cut out paper snowflakes to hang on the tree.
We came to this tradition after many years of saving ornaments and hauling out boxes and boxes of them. What a lot of work it was! And each child had their own special ornaments, and if I had neglected to mark them, there would be fights (“No! I had the snowman with the red scarf! You had the one with the green!”)
Not exactly holiday cheer.
So, we changed that. We got rid of our 6 boxes of Christmas decor (Now we have 1). We found some really cool snowflake patterns and figured out how to fold the paper so we could get 6 points (which is what real snowflakes have).
We all enjoy sitting around the table, telling stories and jokes and creating new patterns.
The little ones can’t cut the snowflakes yet, but they love finding branches to hang them on. Sometimes we stick them right to a branch and other times we tie a loop of thread on the snowflakes so they dangle from the branches.
The tree looks different each year and we don’t have to carefully wrap each ornament as we put it away. Instead, when we’re done with the tree we remove the lights, chop it up and burn it in the fireplace, snowflakes and all. I have boys- they like that sort of thing.
What are your tree decorating traditions? Do you keep ornaments each year or make new ones? Leave a comment and let me know!