It's been great reading everyone's Christmas traditions on Cheryl's blog, hasn't it! So I thought I'd share mine...
When we first got married, my poorly paid teacher husband used to bring home one of the Christmas trees from his school on the last day of term. Well, it was only going to get thrown away! Yes, even then we were into recycling. Rather than see that tree get sent to landfill, we put it to good use! Bringing the tree home always marked the start of the school vacation, and the real countdown to Christmas Day. I would always string some lights up in the front window, too, to celebrate bringing the tree home, which he and the kids could see as they came up the front drive.
And then disaster struck, in the form of cutbacks. The school only bought one tree. And the school caretaker decided it was one of his perks to take it. So we had to go out and buy one.
So the tradition of bringing home the Christmas tree on the last day of term had to change a bit. Husband still came home with a tree, but this time it involved a detour via a nursery on the way home, and getting out his wallet, rather than a saw (the school tree was always about 12 feet tall, as it stood in the school hall, and we only wanted the top 6 feet!)
For a while, when kids were at university, the tradition of buying the tree to mark the beginning of the vacation altered slightly again. This time, whichever of them broke up first, got to drive out to the nursery to pick a tree with their dad. But they had to wait until both were home until they could decorate it. I always let the kids loose on the tree, even when they were so small they needed a chair to reach most of the branches. I never cared if it didn't look very elegant, I just loved watching them express their love of tinsel. The only proviso was that dad put on the lights first, and made sure they were working. And I put the angel on the top...too high for either child, and they would have fought over the privilege anyway.
This year, a lot of our tree traditions seem to have flown out the window. My daughter works in a job not related to education, so school vacation times mean nothing to her any more. And my son has moved away, and is only coming home a couple of days before Christmas. What to do? If I waited until they were both in town, there wouldn't be any trees left. And if hubby did go out and get a tree, what should we do about decorating it? It would look sad, having a bare tree in our house until Christmas Eve. But could my son bear to let his sister decorate the tree without his supervision?
It is a mark of his maturity that he gave her permission to decorate the tree all by herself this year. And a mark of - well, I'm not sure what - that my husband let me go out and buy a tree instead of going himself. He still put the lights on though. And I put the angel in place.
So this year, Christmas isn't so much about trees, and tinsel and fairy lights, as having all my family gathered together under one roof, for just a few nights of the year. That's where the magic will come from, for me.
Wishing you all a magical Christmas,
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