Our Christmas tree this year

Our Christmas tree this year

Hello all and good morning. I will not be joining you for next Tuesday’s post, as I’ve got little ones to tend to on Christmas morning. Margaret will be stepping in for me, and I truly believe I couldn’t be leaving you in better hands.

In light of my absence next week, and given the recent events in the news, I wanted to take a break from heavy stories and discuss my favorite holiday. Christmas!

My family has some strong traditions that I’ve carried through from my childhood. I’d like to share them with you this morning.

First and foremost, the Christmas lights went up on the house the day after Thanksgiving. This is an absolute must. No exceptions, even for bad weather. The day after Thanksgiving in our house marks the beginning of Christmas celebrations.

This year, my wife and I also did most of our Christmas shopping on Black Friday. I normally steer clear of this, but technological advances have given us the ability to do this shopping entirely online. About 60% of our shopping was done on Thanksgiving evening and the following day. We did spend some time at local business that Saturday as well, dumping money into the local economy where we could.

Christmas music cannot start in my home until at least the 2nd week of December. This is tradition number 2. Christmas music doesn’t pour through our speakers until our tree is going up. While decorating the tree, the first thing we listen to is Bing Crosby’s Merry Christmas album, now known as White Christmas. White Christmas just happens to be my favorite track on the album. Here it is for your listening pleasure.

An aside about trees – Ours must be live, must be a Douglas Fir, and must be at least 7 feet. That’s just the way it is.

Decorating the tree includes refreshments! Eggnog and cookies are the usual. We learned last year that our little one had become lactose intolerant, and found soy-based eggnog in stores for the first time this year, so she was able to partake again. She loves eggnog.

Presents go under the tree as soon as my wife or I have time to wrap. It’s tough keeping the dog and cat out of them, but we make do.

Packages, cards, and letters received from friends are a matter of same debate in our home. I am a firm believer that everything meant for Christmas consumption should be opened on the morning of the 25th. My wife believes in opening things from distant friends and far away relatives as they are received in the mail. We’re still sorting this out, but I’ve developed a system: if it’s from my side of the family or my friends, it goes under the tree. From her’s, she can let the kids do as they like.

Christmas cards and letters go into the tree amongst the decorations in our house. I love the fun of looking at our beautiful tree, all lit up, and seeing the photos of family and friends from around the country. This goes for unopened cards and letters as well. They go into the tree to be opened on Christmas morning.

We’re still sorting out Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in our new Texas surroundings. We haven’t developed a routine for that yet, being so far from a lot of our family now, but we will certainly spend time with oldnslow and cbl.

Christmas Eve dinner will revolve around a lasagna that I make. Don’t ask me how this tradition started. I couldn’t tell you. It just is, and always will be in my home.

The no-bake Christmas cookie!

The famous no-bake Christmas cookies!

Stockings go up after dinner, with more eggnog and cookies consumed. My wife’s grandmother made a no-bake cookie every year for Christmas, and since she passed my wife has kept up the tradition.

Christmas morning the kids will go to it. Stockings come last, Santa gifts come first. Santa gifts are never wrapped in our home, and will be the first things the kids see when they come downstairs. The Great Unwrapping of the Gifts typically takes around an hour, and then we’re on to the rest of the day.

I’ll cut it short here. There are a bunch of things I’ve left out (like cbl’s famous Christmas fudge. Er. Mah. Gerd.), but this post has gotten a bit long-winded.

I’ll wrap up by wishing all of you a Merry Christmas, and for those who don’t celebrate, a happy 2nd half of December. Or winter solstice.  Or Sweet Saturnalia. Or Happy Chrismahanukwanzakah.

So please, join me in the comments and share your traditions. Friends and family? Pets and music? Food and snowmen? As always, off topic is safe and even welcome. So, what do you firedogs do for Christmas?