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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Rockin' around the Christmas tree

Examiner.com: A tourist's guide to snow-locked Washington

We've decked the halls with boughs of holly, the stockings are hung by the chimney with care and it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

After picking out a beautiful 8-foot Fraser fir from a church tree sale, it was time to bring up the boxes of ornaments from the basement and start decorating.

It's always fun going through ornaments and remembering where they came from or the story behind each piece. Some of the ornaments were gifts from family or friends, others came from vacations, some were homemade and others simply store-bought. We still hang a paper ornament I made in Montessori school that is missing almost all of its adornments, with more pieces fall off every year. Pretty soon, just the paper Christmas tree outline will remain.

There are also pieces on the tree from around the world. A family tradition I've adopted as one of my own is to buy a Christmas ornament in each place I visit. Not only can you find some unique pieces, but seeing the decorations each year reminds you of a specific trip.

The English call ornaments "baubles," which explains the confusion when I was trying to buy one in Eastbourne a couple of years ago and no one knew what I meant. Divided by a common language!

No presents are under the tree yet but that will surely change over the next couple of days. As kids, my sister and I were allowed to open one gift after church on Christmas Eve and the rest the next morning. The family rule was that everyone had to be awake and waiting before any presents could be unwrapped.

I'll forever have the memory of my 7-or-so-year-old sister creeping into my bedroom in the wee hours of Christmas morning years ago after having snuck downstairs, and hearing her exclaim, "Erin! I got a bike!" Now, we have to pry her out of bed even on Christmas.

What are your family holiday traditions?


  1. I love that little turtle ornament!

    I love opening one present on Christmas Eve and opening the rest on Christmas Day. Even now, my mom won't let my brother and sister and I open them (even if she forgets to wrap them). Plus, the food! The food is my favorite.

  2. The turtle is from Key West -- my sister got a dolphin and I got a turtle to represent my uni mascot, a terrapin.

  3. As you know from travelling holidays overseas are different. I have spent the past two christmases in Oz and once in India. In fact in the past 4 christmases I have spent three of them away. That's weird. However, I REALLY miss decorating the tree. Well the whole process. Thank you for sharing

  4. I love the idea of buying Christmas ornaments every place you visit.
    We exchange gifts with my mother's extended family on Christmas eve, then do the immediate family early Christmas morning, and my dad's extended family for Christmas lunch. Presents galore!