We decorate late around our house. I love the holiday season and I enjoy decorating, but my Episcopal roots carry the Christmas season into January. Tradition taught me that Christmas started on Christmas and ended on Epiphany.
It added to the custom of decorating late when we had children in December. We wanted them to feel like their birthdays were set aside and special – kind of like what we wanted to make Christmas (set aside and special). The oldest has the latest birthday and he now determines the decoration day.
Once the declaration had been made, the whirlwind begins. We begin with the house – putting out the snowmen, greenery, angels, and nativity scenes all around the house. Each room gets something with a season focus.
The menfolk put together our main Christmas tree – and by that I literally mean they put it together. Each limb has to be put into place. Once they are done with that, we divide to ranks.
The first rank heads outside to decorate the porches and decks. They sometimes have to set up the outside tree if it has not already been done. The second rank puts the lights on the main tree.
The menfolk take a break after all these rounds are complete and I am left with the Christmas music and boxes of ornaments. It is my job to sort out the ornaments into sections – one for each person in the family.
We come back together for hot chocolate or eggnog and decorate the tree. I love watching the kids put their ornaments all around. The final step is to place the angel on the top of the tree (we rotate which child gets to do this each year). We then turn on the lights and enjoy the tree while we finish our snack.
I love the feel of the Christmas season – it is not the lights, or the decorations, or the colored paper. For me, the magic of Christmas is the connection I make with family and friends.
I promise you two things: 1. My house is not the grandest in decorations or presentation. We have as many homemade decorations as we do store bought decorations – and that is okay. 2. You never have to worry about breaking our decorations – because the value is in the togetherness and not the items.
May your holiday season be filled with togetherness, connections, and traditions. And if you happen to be in the neighborhood, stop by for some hot chocolate, eggnog, and Christmas cheer.