Deck the Halls

It is amazing that it can already be December and we're celebrating advent in preparation for Christmas once again! It definitely doesn't feel like over 350 days have passed since last Christmas...or that it is possible that Amelia is almost nine months old! I guess it is a good thing I have a handful of blog entries so that I can revisit what events happened in 2009.

We typically decorate our Christmas tree sometime in the three weeks before Christmas. Last year we decorated less than a week before due to having a live balled and burlaped tree. this year we went out the weekend after Thanksgiving to choose our tree and decorated a week later. Our quest for the perfect tree has apparently become "Mom's quest" as the older kids asked why it even mattered what tree they liked since mom will get the final say anyway. It doesn't always happen that way (and didn't again this year), but I definitely get to refuse any tree that I absolutely don't like...which usually means that we'll end up with a spruce or fir tree. I am partial to the tall skinny trees...not too full, and just bare enough to have some character. My choice didn't win this year, however it is of course a blue spruce and was my second choice. When we brought it in the house, I think everyone agreed that the tall skinny one may have been a better choice as this thing is enormous and takes up the entire corner of the living room. It is very pretty though and holds all those ornaments very nicely.

I've noticed that I'm not so excited as I used to be about decorating for Christmas this year. I used to devour magazines in search of vibrant inspiration for turning my home into a warm and inviting Christmas filled space. We brought out a few of the "staple" decorations, but to date haven't really filled the house...or the exterior. Maybe it is the idea that things won't be left alone if they're displayed, or the fact that they won't get put away until March, or just the idea of taking the time to get everything out that is overwhelming enough that I haven't done it yet. I'm not sure, but even baking Christmas cookies has kind of lost its appeal this year. I do think it is because it is just so much work to incorporate everyone without creating noise, much less fighting. I don't feel "Scrougish", just a little lazy.

We did manage to still have hot cocoa when we decorated the tree though, which is one of the traditions that the kids enjoy very much. I'm glad, as it really isn't too big of a deal, but something that I'm sure they'll think of with warm hearts when they think of Christmas at home. Each year, each child gets a new ornament in line with the ornaments that they have every year. The tree becomes a little more full every year, and we may need to consider not putting all of the ornaments on the tree every year, but having the kids each pick their favorite 3-5 or something like that. My brother made a comment about it seeming like we do or give so much in response to finding out that they each get a new ornament. That is another blog, but this also is a tradition, and one that is much enjoyed as they anticipate what the new ornament might look like and reminiscing when hanging ornaments from years past. Even Joe recognizes which ornaments are his and he is excited and proud.

Our tree trimming is never the "Norman Rockwell" scene that I imagine it could be, rather one that is a little (or a lot) chaotic, and sometimes may seem quick and not very full of sentiment, but it really is fun and results in a beautiful tree and some good stories. The climax of this event is putting the angel on top of the tree...something that requires me to revisit my photoshop archives every year to see who was bestowed the honor last year, and who is next in line for this year. Good thing we have photo documentation to nip that fight in the bud!

Cash was here to help us this year, and that in and of itself was such a great reminder of how wonderful it is to have family near. Our time together is quickly nearing an end, and I'm sure when he leaves there will be a period of transition for all of us. That too is another blog. ;)