Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Traditions, Part 2--The Decorating

Nothing feels more like Christmas than decking the halls with artificial boughs of evergreen. I don't think I do anything all that unusual, but here are two of my favorite decorating traditions:

A long time ago in a dorm room in Provo, I received a package.  Inside was this advent calendar, handmade by my mom.  Why was this so special?  Two reasons.  First, I had to work until Christmas Eve that year, and I would be spending all of December without my family.  Second, I grew up with this identical advent calendar.  I'm sure she'd made it at Relief Society sometime in the 70s.  I have no memory of Christmas without it, fighting with my siblings over whose turn it was to hang the ornament and take the candy cane.  This was such a special memory for me that, when Heidi was away last year, I found one similar (online, not s'crafty as my momma) and sent it to her.  Did it again this year for Tucker.  Ironically, he has to work until the night of December 23rd, lives in the same dorm I did that first Christmas away from home.  I talked to him a few days ago, and he said he'd started the calendar a few days early.  Why?  "Because coming home is almost better than Christmas."

Second decorating tradition:

I LOVE my kids' ornaments.  I remember thinking as a young mom, "What am I going to do when my kids bring home ugly ornaments that don't match my tree?  Where will I hang them?"  I found this little four-foot tree on clearance after Christmas at least five years ago, and ever since it has been dedicated to my kids' ornaments.  It holds the place of honor in my entry on a short table, and it makes me happy every time I walk by it. I see first-grade Heidi with her braids, kindergarten Tucker with his round owl glasses, and preschool Ben with his spiky hair.  I think my favorites of all the decorations on this tree are the three angels at the top--Lily, Micah, and Hyrum--all made the Christmas they were three. Just a footprint and two handprints and a face. If you look closely in the reflection you'll see Micah's angel. I love looking at these ornaments, remembering the Christmas they were made, reflecting on how much they've all grown, and how much I love them.

What are your favorite decorating traditions?  Link up today and share with all of us.  Next week:  Christmas baking traditions.  This is one where I plan to learn a lot from all of you!

And, Jen, I'm a little late to the linky party for JibJab. Better late than never, right?
I could do another version with all the adults. Maybe later . . .


  1. Such an awesome idea with the kids ornaments!!

  2. I love your advent calendar! The one I have was a gift to me from my parents, a wooden tree that you add ornaments to as well.

    I also love your kids ornament tree...I figure that is the same thing we'll do with the kids tree in the playroom as they build craft after craft once in school!

    Thanks for hosting another great linky party!

  3. I love your calendar. We had one like that too.

  4. I love your tree and all of your kid's handmade ornaments! No tree for us this year so I will live vicariously through all those who have one....

  5. With no kids at home, we don't do our calendar any more. It brought a tear to my eye to see yours and think of the joy of my own little kiddos thiry years ago.

  6. I can see, from travels through blog world, that I am sadly lacking in the tree department. This may be the year for a second tree, and I love your idea of a tree just for childhood home-made ornaments.

  7. Thanks for your have such a gorgeous family! What a blessing! Come say hi any time :D

  8. Just realized I got so busy linking that I forgot to comment!

    I did the same thing with my kids' advent calendars when they got married. Though, like you, I did not sew them...

    Amazing what good replicas can be found online!


  9. Ok, I am so glad some other mother has a hard time putting her kids homemade ornaments on the "pretty" tree! I love these ornaments, but I also love my pretty tree!

  10. Such a good idea- all of the kids ornaments on one special tree. I love the angels made from their faces and hands/feet.

    Our advent calendar is a mini muffin tin, and it's packed with slips of paper that tell Em a service to do. Maybe I should be nice and add some candy to it.

  11. I love Advent calendars! And, I love that you sent them to your kids, I'm going to have to remember that, it's perfect! I wish I had an angel for all my kids, they are the best!

  12. Cute elves...thanks for linking up!

    I'm so glad you found those advent calendars for your kids to have too.
    We smother our tree with kid made ornaments. They are my absolute favorite!!!

  13. haha i love jibjab...that was funny!

    i think you'd better go buy more of those tree advents b4 they sell them away from the little kids when they get older!

  14. We have almost the exact same tree!! I too had it growing up. It was always a fight over who would put the star up on the 24th...little did I realize that being 5/6 I would never get a turn; well not until my older siblings started moving away. I copied my moms and made one a few years ago, I just did velcro instead of pins like hers used. There is a picture on my 365 blog. Love this post

  15. Love the Advent calendar story.
    So special that you could share a similar moment with your own little (big) ones!!
    And there is really nothing quite like kid made ornaments huh??:)
    Enjoy the night

  16. OH, now I can comment.
    Ignore the email.

    Thanks for the comment on my blog.

    I think your advent calendar is absolutely darling! Traditions are the best.

    Love your pictures of your family.