Growing up we always had a real Christmas tree. I recall a few years of going out to cut it down…but mainly I just remember having it and getting it all dressed up. When I was really little we always got smallish trees and stood them on top of our coffee table so we had enough space in our little apartment. I remember the big tangled mess of the super big, glass bulbs, you know, the kind that get really hot and typically break in storage throughout the year.
Dad, in his lower-than-bass voice would always sing “O Christmas Tree” complete with unique verses he’d make up on the spot. My first year in college we were going to go get a tree together, but time got away from us and we never made it. We strung a small strand of colored twinkle lights around a floor lamp and called it good. I think it was after that year that Mom went for the artificial tree with themed ornaments which didn’t include the garish blinking-tinsel star.
Four years ago, when we moved into our house four days before Christmas, the first thing we did was hang our stockings on our very own mantle. The fireplace may not be functional, but the mantle is something more than I’d ever had! We then set up the small fiber optic tree Garth had gotten me two years earlier – our Christmas traditions had begun. We outlined the deck in white rope lighting that promptly blacked out in odd patches. It looked terrible!
The following year we hung icicle lights around our front porch and decorated our modest prelit tree, filling it with the few ornaments we’d purchased together combined with those we’d received as wedding presents and Garth’s 20+ stars – one for each year.
We’ve incorporated a similar tradition for our kids. They both received a “First Christmas” ornament as a gift…here’s Calder’s from last year, and Seneca’s was packed before I could snap a picture. Calder will be getting snowman ornaments, and Seneca is a stocking. It’s so fun seeing Garth’s ornaments from years and years and knowing we have that history on our tree. I can’t wait to send our kids’ ornaments with them when they move out on their own!
A fun photo taken at our family get together at Aunt Julie’s house.
A star (or snoflake ornament) on the real tree we had at Garth’s parents’ house. As we carefully placed our ornaments in storage for the coming year, we toyed with the idea of going for a real tree beginning next year. There’s something about that whole experience and sharing it with our kids that tickles my soul. What tree traditions do you have in your family?