We usually decorate the Christmas tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving, but since we were all around on Friday, the Christmas season started one day early.
I was in a bit of post-Thanksgiving stupor, so we had a lazy morning and didn't even finish breakfast (cold cereal, because I don't cook anything the day after Thanksgiving) until eleven. Life really is great when your children are old enough to watch cartoons while you sit in bed and read Facebook instead of feeding them breakfast.
Brandon hauled out all the boxes and the children opened them all up and pulled everything out of them. It is definitely more orderly to decorate without children, but you can't beat the excitement level of five (not six, because William has no idea what Christmas is) children at the beginning of the happiest season of the year. Eleanor doesn't remember much of Christmas last year, so this is her first Christmas season. She ran around the whole day asking if it was Christmas yet. When she was told yes, she immediately asked if it was time to have candy. Ahh, the uncomplicated joy of a three year-old.
We've slowly accumulated decorations and have enough to make our front room very cozy. I got to skip putting the lights on the tree (or anything on the tree, for that matter) and instead spent three hours hanging globe ornaments from our enormous chandelier. Sophia, while cutting threads and attaching them to hangers for me commented that Christmas decorating can get a little tedious. Especially when you contemplate taking it all down in a month (which Brandon got to do all alone last year), it doesn't seem like a good idea while you're in the middle of decorating.
However, when all is done, tidied, put away, and one is sitting by the tree enjoying the warm glow of twinkling Christmas lights while listening to "The Christmas Song," it's definitely worth all the work. Because, as we all know, Christmas really is the best. Even without the presents.
After we finished decorating, we all had Thanksgiving again (leftovers are the second best part of Thanksgiving), made hot chocolate, and watched White Christmas. And, as per tradition, I fell asleep sometime after Betty left Bob and woke up to the final strains of everyone belting out the iconic song.
Sunday afternoon we made some more hot chocolate (after having Thanksgiving again) and spent an hour or two cutting out snowflakes. I'm not sure what's so relaxing about turning little paper squares into intricate repeating designs, but it really is quite enjoyable. The children have really gotten into making snowflakes and spent the whole time trying to make 'mom approved' ones.
I love tradition and Christmas is a wonderful time to pull out all the stops on tradition, doing all the fun things together as a family. As the children have grown older it's become even more enjoyable to share the traditions with them and see them get excited about making wrapping paper or ornaments or gingerbread houses. I'm already not looking forward to the time when they've left me and I won't have anyone to do those things with. Someone will have to live close so I can just do them with my grandchildren.
Most of all, it's wonderful to have a whole season to celebrate the birth of my Savior. His birth meant that we will all be given the opportunity to return to our Father in Heaven and live in eternal joy. And not only that, His birth has given us the ability to be happy here on Earth. When I decorate the tree with my children, I know that they will be my children forever. Life doesn't end at death and I have more happiness that I can imagine to look forward to. The happiness of the best Christmas ever doesn't even come close to that happiness that is in store. I love the comfort that comes when life is hard, knowing that it won't be hard forever and also knowing that my Savior knows exactly how to help me through it. And when times are good, I love knowing that at some point, they'll stay good forever.
I love Christmas!
I love Christmas!