I am real tree girl through and through. I have always grown up with real Christmas trees, usually something like a Douglas Fir. The smells and the tradition of cutting down a fir tree have a special place in my heart and in my childhood memories.
Last year, we had a tough time finding a tree, it was expensive, the u-cut trees were sold out early, and our tree lost a lot of needles early on. My husband has been begging me to get an artificial tree for years, and so after Christmas last year, I caved. We bought a beautiful artificial tree, and this year we used it for the first time. And I don't hate it. In fact, I bought a second one for the family room. And some pine scented spray to make it seem somewhat real.
I still wanted the tree farm experience (and photos ;) ), so we loaded up the kids the weekend after we had our third baby and headed to the tree farm. We had the whole tree farm to ourselves, and the owners were gracious enough to just let us play among the trees. It's one of my favorite Christmas memories we've made with the kids. We played hide-and-seek, my oldest made me take a photo of her with every tree that was her height, and we started the tradition of buying a potted pine tree to put outside and to plant in our yard after Christmas.
I'm a stickler for traditions, but sometimes when old traditions are broken, beautiful new traditions are made.
When we were first married, my husband and I never had anything to do on Christmas Day, so we would wake up when we wanted, drink mimosas and eat whatever food we wanted. It was a breakfast feast of non-breakfast foods, including such favorites as shrimp cocktail and lasagna. We always celebrate Christmas Eve by going to Mass and spending the evening with my family, and his side generally celebrates on another weekend, so Christmas Eve was all ours. Just our little family. When our daughter was born, we found this arrangement was perfect. No running to 3 different Christmas gatherings on the same day. No rushing through opening gifts from Santa so we could bake, load up and head out to our families' homes. Instead, it proved to be relaxing and we could cherish the entire day together.
This year held in store a beautiful Christmas Day. Our daughter is old enough that the idea of opening presents is not completely lost on her, even if she doesn't know why we do it, and her excitement has been the greatest joy to watch. The day was relaxing and perfect and calm.
I thought she wouldn't care much for the sled, but being unwrapped already beneath the tree and one of the larger gifts, she immediately ran over to it and proceeded to sit in it, or sit her Daniel Tiger figurines in it, all day. I'm not sure she'll get to use it this year, given the unseasonably warm weather, but she was content to be pulled around the living room by her Daddy.
We always open our stockings first. Our pup is 9 years old, and she has quickly learned that her stocking always holds a squeak toy animal, or "duck," as we call all of them, regardless of the animal. Although our daughter didn't understand the stocking idea, Foo Foo ran over to them right away and anxiously waited for her duck.
Santa made a mistake by putting the Daniel Tiger figurines in the stocking because after that, no other gift really mattered. ;)
Santa also brought a Daniel Tiger coloring book and a Daniel Tiger book about feelings. The latter was read immediately and at least 5 times in a row, and has been read 3-5 times every day since. When we put our little one to sleep at night, she generally gets out of bed and whimpers a little. Before we go to bed, we go back in and kiss her good night, and every night, the Daniel Tiger feelings book has been tucked in bed with her under her arm. ♥
On Christmas Eve, we hosted my family, and in the crazy wonderfulness of having 30-some people in our home and our daughter's aversion to lots of noise and chaos, we forgot to leave cookies and milk for Santa Claus. But he found them anyway and helped himself. When our daughter saw that Santa hadn't eaten them all, she decided to help herself too.
Another gift that I didn't expect to be a favorite was a doctor's kit. Looking back, I guess they do discuss the doctor's office quite a bit on Daniel Tiger. She walks around and takes temperatures, saying "Open wide," giving shots, and listening to heartbeats. "Thump thump," she says. This little doctor even checks on her Daniel Tiger figurines.
I thought she was reaching for Baby Jesus. How sweet, I thought. Nope, Daddy stuck O the Owl in the Nativity scene.
Boxes really are a kid's favorite gift.
After we watched "Cinderella" that Santa brought for Mommy and kiddo, and we all took a looooong nap, we rushed out of the house before sunset to go for a walk in our jammies. Little One kept lifting one leg high in the air when she walked like a march, and then Daddy did it also so that they took turns doing a silly march down the road. She also picked up stones from the road as presents.
And in the end, we colored the new Daniel Tiger coloring book to end our perfect day. ♥
I hope you all are having a Merry Christmas! We still have our tree up and are celebrating for the rest of the 12 days of Christmas, so you will see more Christmas-y posts here as I try to catch up on all of the fun we had this month!
We ended up with a lovely little Christmas tree, but it was no easy task. Because of the warm weather, people rushed out it seems before Thanksgiving was even over and snatched up all of the live Christmas trees in our area, pre-cut and cut-your-own. We leave our tree up for the 12 days of Christmas until the Wise Men arrive, which is 12 days longer than most people. In years past, we never had an issue, but this year, by the time we got our tree, they were completely wiped out in our area. So after our usual tree farm was sold out, and even the local Boy Scouts were sold out of any decent pre-cuts, we headed to Home Depot. It didn't bother our little curly haired girl, though. There is an airport pretty much across the street, and as she's obsessed with watching planes fly over, she was thrilled with the entire tree-hunting adventure.
I love having a real tree in our home. My husband begs me every year for an artificial tree, but I won't budge on this one. The only thing is, I hate decorating. Weird, I know. Turns out, our little girl hates it too. My husband always strings the lights because he's so good at it, and I was in charge of ornaments. I asked Little One to help me decorate, but she opted to color instead. Besides, she's much more interested in removing ornaments than adding them.
Regardless of what it took to get there, our tree looks beautiful during this unseasonably warm Christmas season, and I can't wait to see it with all of Santa's gifts beneath it.
I wish each and every one of you a blessed and joyful Christmas!
Wife, Mommy, Vintage Lover, Coffee Addict, Photography Junkie