Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.
– Washington Irving, American author, essayist, historian, and biographer
Every season, we deck our halls at full tilt. I confess that when the kids were much younger, David and I spent more than 48 hours – straight, it seemed – putting up the decorations and by the end of it we were done with the holidays – and the loop of Christmas music, too. We did it for the wonder that we saw in our kids’ eyes and for recreating the kind of Christmas magic that we ourselves associated with the holidays. We also enjoyed the fruits of our labor – sitting in the living room and admiring the lights in the villages and on the tree, smelling the robust Noble Fir tree, warmed by the fire in the fireplace.
Now that the kids are older, decking the halls is much easier, and labeling boxes that tell us which building and character goes in which room has created quite the efficient process. We created an assembly line from the attic to the living room, and in no time, the halls were indeed decked. And the final ritual – which signaled that the season had officially started in our household – was taking turns showering snow over the villages. In the evenings, all four of us are on the couch. David is working on his laptop, I’m either revising my novel or writing my blog, and the kids are laboring over their homework. Oh, and we drag Rex’s bed and position it next to the fireplace, which keeps him from stretching out across the Christmas tree skirt. It’s a cozy ritual.
The kids have their own little lighted villages in their rooms, which they will take with them when they have their own homes. And we’ll slowly hand off the buildings and characters to them as the years go by. They even have their own small Christmas tree in their rooms with their own ornaments, given to them or made in school through the years. Our own Christmas tree is full of ornaments that we’ve collected, some as old as when I was in college. Some were gifts, some commemorated births and special occasions. Most of them hold special memories. We are missing a few years, but another tradition is getting a Swarovski star each year. The kids have their own birth years, which again, will be given to them when they have their own homes.
We’ve had an open house one year and always have family and friends over to enjoy the decorations. Decking the halls and enjoying the evenings together is a cherished tradition that we know our kids will continue when they grow up. I’m grateful that they value it as much as we do. I look forward to the look of wonder and delight in their kids’ eyes when these old villages take up new homes.