It’s the holidays and for most of us, that launched officially just one week ago on Black Friday when the retail stores launched their massive sales blitz hoping to lure millions of customers in the door to purchase their items and more. Many houses in our neighborhood already have their decorations up and I have to admit, we only have about half of ours out there. Our Christmas tree will likely go up this weekend and my daughter is already excited about decorating it.
This is the eleventh Christmas my husband and I are spending together and every year feels like the first year and many of the traditions we employ now are a product of our first year together. The Christmas tree, for example, is an important component of my celebrating the holidays. When the tree is out and we deck the tree with Christmas music playing in the background – I really feel the energy of the holiday season.
The first Christmas we were together, my tree was a very small two footer that my husband gave me as a gift for my very small one bedroom apartment. I was really strapped for cash that year and he showed up at my front door, late one evening with this very small, very scraggly looking tree and a big smile. I’d been depressed about the holidays and he made it his goal to cheer me up.
That scraggly little tree was really kind of sad, but it was also one of the prettiest trees I’d ever seen in my life. We decorated it simply with paper chains, paper ornaments and a handful of little ones that he picked out at the store. It sat on a small table in the corner of the apartment and no matter how glamorous or large the trees were we picked out in subsequent years – it was one of the best trees I’ve ever had.
Picking Out The Tree
Until last Christmas, we always took the time to go out and pick out a live tree and it was always an event – often accompanied by hot cocoa, hand holding and looking for a unique ornament to honor the Christmas we’re celebrating together. Many of our traditions altered subtly after our daughter was born. Her birth this close to the holiday season injected a birthday celebration and a firm conviction to keep the Christmas decorations to a minimum until after her birthday.
Our traditions include now, putting up the tree and letting her go nuts by adding the decorations. We hosted decorating parties for years for our friends, our decorating parties are mostly for family now and we often give special decorations to the people we love on these days – this year, for the first time – I had the kids (my daughter and my nephew) create their own decorations, decorating the wood ornaments with glitter glue, markers and more.
Last year, my daughter made very good friends with a very Christian oriented child and she came home to ask me all about Jesus – so I told her the nativity story and we have a Nativity scene that belonged to my grandmother – and one of the traditions I’ve carried forward from my childhood to our marriage and now to our daughter is the setting of the Nativity scene and leaving only the baby Jesus out until Christmas eve when he was born.
Last year, my daughter made a request to make a birthday cake for Jesus since it was his birthday and we added a birthday cake to our Christmas Eve – she wants to do that again this year, but she also wants to decorate a Menorah and to color in the candles for each night of Hanukah. Many of the traditions that we have embraced as a family began that first Christmas my husband and I spent together – those traditions have continued to grow and evolve over the years and will continue to as the years go on.
What traditions do you and your spouse celebrate during the holidays?
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