My Favorite Day

One of my favorite days of the year is the day we put up the Christmas tree.  We have a tradition of taking each ornament out of it’s box and enjoying all the memories that come along with it.  One of my favorite ornaments is my Hallmark “Partridge in a Pear Tree” from 1976.  And I love teasing Tom about the cross-stitch ornament from one of his college girlfriends (“She wasn’t my girlfriend!”).  I’m sorry.  You don’t cross stitch an ornament with someone’s Greek letters unless it’s something special.

Anyway, the day is always a fun one filled with hot chocolate and Christmas music and all sorts of fun.  At least that’s what I want to hold on to.  I suppose if I have to really describe the day, it usually consists of finding an actual day to decorate the tree because, God help me if it doesn’t take FOREVER!  The lights themselves take hours.  At least three strands only light halfway and some, usually the ones you just bought last year, don’t light at all.  That requires you to stop the entire process because you must have the lights on first before you go any further.  Trip to Target.  Return home.  Now all the lights don’t really match but you’re going to look past it.  I would also have to admit I’m a bit anal about my ornaments.  They all have their own box and I like those boxes to remain in pristine condition.  So I, and only I, remove the ornaments from the box. then hand them to the kids to be placed on the tree (only to know that Tom will actually be moving the ornaments to spread them out evenly since the kids tend to hang them ALL at eye level or hanging so low they are skimming the floor).  The entire process takes hours and hours and hours.  It gets late.  We’re still not done.  There is bickering and harassing and yet we all look forward to that day every year.

So today was that day.  Elizabeth, Julian and I actually brought our tree home on Friday after school but because we went to Strasbourg yesterday (tomorrow’s blog, I hope), we waited until today to decorate.

I have to say, the weekend was perfect for getting in the holiday spirit.  We unexpectedly happened upon a Christmas market when we were just heading to the grocery store Friday night and it was a special treat.  We even had this yummy sandwich for dinner that was basically scalloped potatoes on a baguette, so big it was served in a basket with a fork.  Crazy good.  We spent Saturday in Strasbourg, home of the oldest Christmas market in France.  And today started off by attending church…the first week of Advent.  It was a special service first because instead of a homily they had seven different individuals, including kids, read seven passages that covered main themes in Christianity and in between each the choir or the congregation sang hymns and carols.  Secondly, it was special because Sarah came home on Wednesday from choir saying she was pulled out of youth choir and offered to sing a solo with the adult choir.  She sang the first verse of the hymn alone in front of the church with the choir taking over behind her in verse two.  She sounded beautiful, she looked beautiful.  And when we got home, Sarah remembered that when she and Tom were recording a video for a French project last week they turned off the sound on the camera to eliminate background noise.  So we have a lovely video, just no sound! 🙂  Fortunately, she will be singing it again at a future event during the holidays so we have a second chance.  Pressure is on to make it a good one.

Elizabeth and Julian had rehearsal for the Christmas pageant until 2 this afternoon and then homework for all.  So at 5 we put down our things and began decorating the tree.  We were done by 5:25.

Would you like more than that?

The tree is a little more than 6 feet tall but not big.  Perfect in it’s little corner.  We bought one string of lights: multi-colored that can do many things…flash, fade, only blue/green, only red/yellow, fast pulse, slow pulse.  We wrapped our one strand around our little tree and it was perfect.  Just perfect.  I got goose bumps because in less than 2 minutes our simple tree was festive and just what I pictured it would be like.

For ornaments: no special boxes to unwrap this year.  We purchased an ornament in London, a glass red telephone booth from Harrod’s.  We bought a glass bird yesterday in Strasbourg (the bird has no significance other than we all liked it) and we each, Chili included, have a glass ball from Rome purchased from the glass bead man that made the girls some jewelry.  We hope to have an ornament from each country that we visit this year, although we were only in Germany for 10 minutes and there weren’t any stores on the other side of the river.  Oh well.

The rest of our tree is decorated with tickets.  Tickets from museums, trains, shows, and events that are commemorating our year.  I need to give our friend, Barb, credit for this idea.  We popped a hole punch into each ticket, tied on a loop of twine and hung it on the tree.  We each had our favorites…the Eiffel Tower, Monet’s Garden, Reading football match, Oyster card from London and Matilda the Musical, too.  So many fun memories.  And before you knew it, the tree was done.  I love it.  Elizabeth has grand plans to pop and string some popcorn but we’ll see if we decide to do that or not.

Tomorrow night we are going to decorate our hallway with ribbon and family pictures from previous Christmas’ that my Mom sent.  The kids cut those out tonight and we’ll make some sort of garland with them which will also be where we hang the holiday cards you all will be sending.  Ours go in the mail tomorrow.

I’m happy.  I love walking into a room when Christmas lights are twinkling.  It really IS beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Adding the Strasbourg bird.

Adding the Strasbourg bird.

Our London phone booth ornament.

Our London phone booth ornament.

Tying twine.

Tying twine.

Lots of tickets on the table.

Lots of tickets on the table.

This one is Chili's!

This one is Chili’s!

Adding the glass ornaments.

Adding the glass ornaments.

Look at my new tall hat!

Look at my new tall hat!

We love Christmas!

We love Christmas!

Securing the twine.

Securing the twine.

Adding a billet to the tree.

Adding a billet to the tree.

One of the glass ornaments from Rome.

One of the glass ornaments from Rome.

Ticket from the cupola San Pietro - Roma

Ticket from the cupola San Pietro – Roma

It's just the right size for our home!

It’s just the right size for our home!

Cutting out photos for our family garland.

Cutting out photos for our family garland.

Cutting out a photo of very young Elizabeth from Christmas past.

Cutting out a photo of very young Elizabeth from Christmas past.

Tickets, including Arc de Triomphe, the Vatican Museum and a football match in the U.K.

Tickets, including Arc de Triomphe, the Vatican Museum and a football match in the U.K.

It is filling up.

It is filling up.

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Yep.  We both need haircuts.

Yep. We both need haircuts.

Matilda the Musical ticket.

Matilda the Musical ticket.

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Making garland for the hallway.

Making garland for the hallway.

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Preparing the family garland.

Preparing the family garland.

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Categories: Kelley's Kilometers | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “My Favorite Day

  1. Colleen Hartman

    I love it. It was almost like being there with you without intruding! The ticket idea is fantastic! Love the tree stand too. Can you water it or just hope it lasts through the season? We had one that we didn’t re-cut when we got home form the lot and it wouldn’t take water. It “rained” needles everytime we walked by it. Lesson learned there! Like everyday you have in Paris, Christmas will be special. It certainly isn’t Christmas weather here….60 tomorrow! I eagerly anticipate your next blog about your weekend trip. Congrats to Sarah on snagging a solo! You all look great! Hugs!

  2. Midori

    Best tree ever! Such a memorable tree decorating experience for your family!

  3. Karen Hoffmeier

    Kelley, Dad and I so look forward to your blogs. You write so well and and it does make me feel like I am looking over your shoulder and peeking in on you as you go about your decorating. The tree is delightful and the garland should add a few family memories. I’m so proud of all three kids for making this adventure special for all of you. Wish we could be there to hear Sarah. Hope the video will work the next time.

  4. Barb

    Sleeping under the tree is going to be a tight squeeze 🙂 Looks beautiful!

  5. Natalie

    Tree looks fantastic! Chris’s quote upon reading your blog “you are exactly like your sister”.

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