Much to my families chagrin the day after Thanksgiving began my decorating frenzy for Christmas. I had started out when the children were very young of decorating every room of the house for every holiday, but Christmas was over the top. It took days to complete. That night I would always sit in my chair, look at the tree and exclaim with wonder that it was the most beautiful tree I had ever seen. The kids would just laugh. Every night I would soak up the magic of the tree, the lights and the decorations.
One year I went to a Conference the week before Christmas. When I arrived home the family had bought another tree and had it all decorated, waiting for me to be surprised. My tree had died. I guess I had decorated a little early. After that Bob always insisted on fake trees.
I’ve asked around and below are some other decorating traditions from my friends and family:
- We decorate for Christmas the day after thanksgiving and take it down New Year’s Day (my family). When doing this we bake Christmas cookies and listen to Christmas music. (Katie)
- Make decorating for Christmas an event. I remember the weekend after Thanksgiving digging out all the Christmas decorations. We would spend all day decorating the house and listening to Christmas music. But the last thing that was done – and always at night – was decorating the tree. After the whole house was decked out we would have dinner and clean up and then we would all get together in the living room and decorate the tree. To me, that always signaled the beginning of the holiday season. (Tina)
- One of my favorite family memories as a child, when my parents were still married and my brother lived with us, was going to the mountains each Christmas to visit my grandparents and then chopping down a tree on the way home. It makes me think of family. So now, every Christmas we, my new family unit, go to a little mountain town near us at the beginning of December and spend the day just walking through the shops and being together. Then we begin the hunt for the perfect Christmas tree. We always try to find a tree farm where we can chop down our own tree, but we have settled for trees already cut too. It takes all day, but we all have the day together, we all have to agree on a tree, and the kids look forward to it every year. (Erica)
- My mom LOVED Christmas. It was her favorite time of the year. She would decorate her house like no one else I’ve ever known. We had to have the washing machine repaired one year and the repair man was stunned by her decorations. He loved it! He asked if he could bring his kids to see her Santa’s! He told my mom that his wife and kids loved to go to the mall every year to see the decorations but from now on, no mall any where would ever rival her house! She thanked him and told him he was more than welcome to bring his family to our house. She asked him to let her know when. He never did come back.I never understood my mom’s fascination with Christmas until I was about 19 years old. Her and I were sitting on the couch on night after my dad had gone to bed (normal behavior for her and I on a Friday or Saturday night) watching the Food Network and I just came right out and asked “Mom….why do you love Christmas so much and put so much into it?” I was SO not prepared for the answer I received. She reminded me of what it was like when it had just been her and I (before she married my dad). She was a single mom that worked A LOT and we didn’t have much money. Then she told me about when she was young. She lost her mother at the age of 4 and became momma to her 2 little brothers. The state they lived in thought it was wrong for a man to be a single parent of a daughter and took all 3 of them away. They lived in foster homes for 5 years. They experienced a lot of things in those 5 years but Christmas was by far the worst. She said the worst memory of Christmas was living with one family that gave her and her brothers the most pretty packages and they were so excited! When they opened the boxes…..they were empty. She promised herself that would never happen again, even if she had to put newspaper in a box. Her brothers would never open empty boxes again. When she became a mom….some years I only had one or two presents and it took everything she made to make sure that there was never a bad Christmas again. That was the year that I learned the true meaning of “It’s better to give than receive.” (Loni)
What are some of your favorite Christmas decorating traditions?