Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Trimming The Tree

I am very adamant about not celebrating Christmas until Thanksgiving is over. There are no decorations, Christmas music, etc. in my house until we have celebrated turkey day. Well Thanksgiving is over...and Christmas is on!!!

We have always had real Christmas trees, from birth until Christmas 2005. We went to Disney for 10 days and wouldn't be home to water our tree so we had to get a fake tree since Christopher is super-paranoid about the tree bursting into flames. It was either a fake tree or no tree and I wasn't having that. Even though I was resistant to the fake tree (plastic just doesn't look or smell the same), it has definitely saved me some heartaches and headaches - I don't have to water it every 5 minutes so it doesn't spontaneously combust!!!

Daddy and Landon put our tree together while Carter supervised.

We have a few family traditions when it comes to Christmas, some when we are trimming our tree (okay, not really trimming since ours is plastic, but you know what I mean).

One is listening to Christmas music and eating squirt cheese (known to non-rednecks as Easy Cheese) & Ritz crackers while decorating the tree. Yummy!

We always give each other an ornament every year (that is opened on Christmas Eve). I love unwrapping each one carefully, looking at the ornament, reading the dates and to/from that I have carefully labelled each one with and just reflecting back to that time. Meanwhile, Christopher and Landon are impatiently throwing them up on the tree. Here's the method to their madness: Landon hangs them all on one branch (especially my nice, expensive ones that I have told him not to touch) so they can be knocked off every time you walk by or put a gift under the tree and Christopher is hanging all of "mine" on the back of the tree while "his" are all on the front. It's so relaxing! :) It does make me laugh to think about all of this. I love my boys!

After all of the ornaments are hung, we each have a pickle that goes on the tree last. We hang our pickles up at the same time. People have given me pickles over the years since I love pickles so much, but there's actually history behind it. In old world Germany, they would hide a pickle deep in the boughs of the tree. The child who could find the pickle first on Christmas Day would be blessed with a good year, and an extra gift from Santa.

Our tree...loaded with memories.

And our new tradition is our elf. If you have not heard of The Elf on The Shelf, go buy it! It is an awesome tradition for a family.

This little retro elf comes to visit every year after Thanksgiving. He carefully watches over your children during the day to make sure they are being good little boys and girls. He flies to the North Pole at night to report back to Santa. He then flies back and lands in a different spot in your house each morning. Landon has enjoyed trying to find the elf every morning (so far he has been spotted on the mantle, on top of the pie safe in Daddy's plants, and on top of the fridge). The first time the elf comes to your house, you get to name him. Landon named ours Snakey (like snake - with a e on the end), naturally. I mean, that is a common elf name, right? Snakey is not allowed to talk to Landon, per Santa's orders. And Landon is not allowed to touch Snakey or he will lose his magic and won't be able to fly back to Santa. We bid him farewell on Christmas Eve, and wait for his return next year. The first day we met Snakey, I asked Landon if he wanted to tell Snakey what he wanted for Christmas. He went in the kitchen and came back with a piece of my old, beat-up kitchen play set, showed it to Snakey, and said "I want a new one of these".

If you don't have a tradition of your own, start one. It's never too late. When all is said and done, memories are all you have left. I cherish them every day as I see my boys growing up right before my eyes.

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