My laptop sits in front of me and I could be getting a jump-start on my holiday shopping with big online sales. Instead, I would rather write for my blog, and not break tradition. The gift buying does not begin for me until the start of December. So I have a week before the frantic frenzy of finding the perfect presents for my people. It may seem like I am procrastinating and could benefit from planned shopping and sale searching, but this is just how I do it. If ever I do find something special for someone far in advance I usually forget about it in the back of my closet, or my impatience gets the best of me and I give it to them early.
As long as I can remember the Christmas season has been this way for me, and for my family. We do not put up our tree or decorations over the Thanksgiving holiday as some people do. It’s usually the second week of December before we get our fresh cut live tree from the Boy Scout lot. I remember games of hide and seek in the tree lot with my sisters, as my parents took the time to find just the right tree. Years later, it was my turn to stand and discuss tree height and fullness with my husband as our children ran around the temporary forest in the lot.
The same weekend that the tree came home was also when we brought down all of our boxes from the attic. My decorations have accumulated over the years: the snowman collection, the snow globes, the Christmas picture books, the nutcracker grouping, and the tiny crystal angels. I love unwrapping each familiar item. My parents had several Christmas decorations that remain clear in my mind, even though it’s been years since I’ve seen them on display. The first was a trio of three angels made from brown or gold painted styrofoam balls and cones covered in burlap in large, medium and small sizes. I would play with the three angels because they were not fragile. Then there was the delicate carousel of brass angels that turned round and round when the little candles were lit. I found it to be magical that the flames would somehow move the angels in flight. Each December I looked forward to these special family decorations making their way to our living room. I know my children feel the same about our snowmen and nutcrackers.
My aunt always sent us an Advent calendar in the mail. Each sister took a turn opening a numbered door, which revealed a picture of an animal from the manger or some toy. As I started celebrating the season of Advent with children of my own, an Advent calendar was delivered to us at the end of November from that same aunt. Some years the calendar was more elaborate with little chocolates or even legos behind each door. The main idea was recognizing the season and counting down the days until Christmas. For families with multiple children it was also a good opportunity for learning to “wait your turn.”
I have five more days before the first day of December. Five more days until the list-making, gift purchasing, card writing, Advent calendar door opening begins. My car radio will not be tuned into the Christmas music quite yet. There is no wreath hanging on my door until this weekend. I’m still smiling in gratitude for the wonderful Thanksgiving I spent with my family. We feasted, played games, had a drum circle and laughed a lot. Then over the weekend we cheered on our son’s football team; good news is that they won and that we will be at a bowl game sometime over the Christmas holiday. The time, day and location to be determined. Exciting times!
This is our first Christmas with the puppies. It brings ups all kinds of questions that haven’t crossed my mind in years: can we have poinsettias in the house? I don’t think so, I have read that they are mildly toxic to dogs. What will our dogs do with a tree in close proximity? Summer chews on all sticks and even grabs logs from next to the hearth, will she try to eat the tree branches? How about low-hanging ornaments? What is Santa going to bring the puppies and will they greet Santa Claus in a friendly way when he comes down our chimney and into the house? I will figure those important details out in the next five days. For now, a special dog treat Advent Calendar has been ordered and will hopefully arrive by Saturday (when the Christmas season officially begins in our house).