But yesterday the family went out and chose a live tree, rearranged furniture, installed the holder and tree, wound lights around it, and put our ornaments up while listening to our traditional Nat King Cole Christmas CD and sipping hot chocolate. The tree emanated cold when we first brought it in, and as it soaked up the warm water we gave it, the scent of fir tree filled the house. It really is a pleasant aroma.
Every year our kids get a new ornament, and so from youngest to oldest they get to put up their personal collections before we fill it out with shiny purple and teal globes. Now that Deven is 12, he takes objection to his first year ornament, which for all of them is a photo of their infant or toddler selves, but he happens to be adorably naked. At his advanced age, he is not amused.
I think this will be the first year that Emmett leaves the tree alone, and is old enough to look at the gifts without touching. He really wants to give gifts too, and has already put some homemade items under the tree :).
It's fun and comforting to keep the traditions each year, to listen to the same music, drink hot chocolate, pull out collections of things we've seen year after year. I think it is interesting how we humans (animals too I guess) like our traditions. For Nat and I, Christmas is not a tradition we carry on from childhood, it is one we established in our lives when I was pregnant with Eliana. But it has come to mean a lot, add great enjoyment to our lives, and give us a special focus for worship, tradition, correspondence, family, togetherness and fun.