Family · Holidays · Life · Parenting

Das Neu Tannenbaum

Today’s Advent activity, announced this morning to shrieks of joy, was to put up the Christmas tree.

I won’t lie. I have dreaded this every year. It’s always a circus around here, but add in easily tangled lights and breakable ornaments and a kind of high-strung mother especially in December (I never admitted that and I’ll deny it to my last breath), and it’s a little stressful. The tree when it’s done is nice, but the process has not been.

Mothers of toddlers who are trying to have Really Good Christmases (if you’re a regular reader you know we gave up on Perfect Christmases a long time ago) and to let the little darlings help decorate the tree, this is my message to you: HANG ON, SISTER. It gets better. This year, when we were all done, I turned to my sister and said, “Wow. That wasn’t bad at all. Actually, it was kind of fun.”

Also, we are not attaching the tree to the wall this year and I think there’s like a 60% chance it won’t get knocked down. Major progress.

We got a new Christmas tree this year. We don’t do live trees because convincing Paul to go out and get a live tree and haul it home is not on the list of things I can currently handle. Also because a fake one you can get from Amazon Prime. Cue the Hallelujah Chorus.

Levi was a little confused, though. “Mom! There’s something wrong with our tree!”

I explained about fluffing, and they got busy.

There was a bad moment when two strings of lights turned out not to work at all, and we thought that Christmas might be RUINED RUINED I SAY. But Mama plans ahead and sometimes that even works, and this was one of those times. I had a huge string of lights stored that we’d never used because I figured this would happen one day.


So they got after the ornaments. This year, they heeded my exhortations and did not hang all the ornaments on one branch. They were tall enough to reach almost the entire tree. It was awesome.


When we were all ready, they said Auntie could do the star because she’s never had a turn. They even held her up so she could reach.

All done.

Okay, FINE. I’ll admit it. It’s one of my favorite things, when the tree is lit and you can turn all the lights off and sit with just the tree on. Even my Grinchy heart can’t hold out against it.

We’ve told Elias about his first Christmas, and how he was fascinated by the lights. I’d just let him lie under the tree and he’d stare up at the lights and coo. It was darling. So he crawled under tonight and said, “Was it like this?”

Auntie and Levi got down there with him to hang out and talk.

L: This is a good day to do the tree because it’s so dark!
E: Yeah! I like when it’s all lit up when we go to bed.
A: That’s when Mama gets all lit up, too.
Me:  … Seriously?
E: What does that mean?
A and Me, simultaneously: NOTHING.

A: What was your favorite thing last year?
E: Bringing a present home to Mama from school.
L: My Christmas party at school. We played Pin the Nose on Olaf!
A: What do you think your mama’s favorite thing is?
E: Buying presents and making her kids happy.
A: … I think you nailed it, buddy.

E: Hey Mom. You know last year on Christmas Eve when you put out the presents? Levi got out of bed and felt his present.
A: Ohhhhh, my. Did he now?
E: Yeah. And … and … I went with him.

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