We made the family trip to get our Christmas Tree on Saturday. We’ve found a tree farm that we really like. They have nice trees you cut yourself (Michael LOVES that part the best), and then little games for the kids. And they’re just really nice out there. It reminds me in some ways of the place we used to go to when I was a kid. It feels like home to me. So we picked the “perfect” tree, Ryley, Grace and Ethan each got to help cut it down, and then we headed down the hill. Michael’s parents go with us every year, and Mom K reminded me that the first time we tree shopped with them, Ryley and Grace were little-little…..Grace was barely walking, Ryley still a toddler himself, and Ethan was still just a plan for the future. It seems so hard to believe we’ve been down here for 7 1/2 years. But I digress.
We have a tradition of Santa putting an ornament for each child in his or her stocking. It’s fun every year to pull the ornaments out and see how their interests have changed. They love putting their own ornaments on the tree. They’re already discussing what ornaments they want from Santa this year.
Then we have the tradition of putting the angel on top of the tree. The kids take turns. Last year was Ryley’s turn, this year was Grace’s, and next year will be Ethan’s. I take pictures of them doing it so I can see how much they’ve grown and changed between turns. And it’s a moment when the angel is placed on top of the tree…I feel myself holding my breath. I remember how much I always looked forward to my turn when I was a kid, and how special I felt putting her up there, just before we turned the lights on for the first time.
I love that the kids are starting to expect the traditions. And they remind me if I happen to forget anything, or any part of anything. And they are at the ages when they want to help. Other than some “adjusting” of ornaments after they were done, they did the tree themselves. They went to Michael’s parents’ house for the night this past weekend where, as per tradition, they made gingerbread houses with their Bella.
This is just such a special time of year. It makes me nostalgic. It feels like magic. It reminds me that my babies are growing up quickly. It makes me feel like a kid again. The countdown tree Ethan made in Kindergarten stresses me out with the reminder of how many days I have left to pull it all together – finish shopping, get the cards out, clean the house up, get the stuff for Christmas Eve dinner – and Christmas music can move me to tears with memories and the wonderment of the grace of God. But the traditions of the season for my family keep me grounded, and give me joy.