In my house, we have always had a live Christmas tree. Tall, piney, sometimes lopsided and wobbly, I can never remember not having a live tree.
The year my hubby and I celebrated our “first married” Christmas, we were in Seattle. He was on tour, I came out to visit for a couple of weeks, and we got a tiny, Charlie Brown-type tree. That year we also put on two special ornaments that we got from the shops in the area, plus lights and tinsel and tartan bows. Neither one of us wanted to deal with breakable ornaments, so we went soft.
Ever since then, though, wherever we go through out the year, we look for an ornament to put on our tree. Now when we decorate, we can remember our trips – Seattle, Vancouver, Paris, London, Amsterdam…even the LA County Museum of Art has provided us with an interesting ornament.
In my Demon series, the Caine men remember their childhood tree filled with angel ornaments that their late, beloved mother had collected. Every one was special; every one had a story, but most of those Angel stories have been forgotten. Or have they? I’m working on a Christmas Novella for the Caine men and the Angels their mother left behind.
What kind of Holiday Tree traditions do you carry on, year after year? If you’re a writer, do you have holiday traditions for your main characters, whether you have a holiday story or not?
We always had a living tree too when I grew up, but then as an adult I developed an allergy to pine and now everyone in the family has fake. Ornaments have been collected and kept since childhood. I don’t yet have a tradition for my characters, but now that you’ve mentioned it, I am sure something will come up.
Aww, that sucks, being allergic to pine…and I, too have ornaments from childhood, ones that my grandmother made and have been passed down to me.
We too have collected ornaments in our travels. They share space on our tree with many made by small hands and decorated with eagerness, if not talent! It may not be the tree a decorator would be proud of, but we like it and that’s all that matters. We’ve been married thirty-two years and have two children. Over the years the tree has by necessity become taller and taller. We’re up to a nine foot one now, and every branch is adorned.
Thanks for sharing your holiday traditions.
Roz! Thanks for stopping by. I’ve been married for 30 years and my two boys have many home made ornaments on our tree. I agree, it’s not the decorator standard, but it definitely is our own family tree.
I grew up in communist country. Christmas was forbiden, but people still celebrated in secrecy. My dad was in the party. We could never put up a tree on Christmas, only after. Our Santa was Grandpa Frost, no saints of any sort. Traditional Christmas sweets were only served after as well. For my family Christmas was supposed to be an ordinary day. After the fall of comunist regime, people were free to go to church, to celebrate the holidays and to baptize their babies.
In my book that takes place in 1500’s Christmas is celebrated wtih family and villagers attending the Midnight Mass, then a big lunch the day after, but still very traditional and old fashioned, and above all meagre.
Wow Zrinka! What a background you have! I do love the idea of Grandpa Frost, though…may have to steal him at some point…
Oh, the joy of the holidays. Up until my parents divorced 7 yrs ago, I could have told you every tradition under the sun. My mother-in-law passed away last year and so my husbands family traditions have passed on. Our family is relatively small, sooo…we decided to toss out tradition and make a few of our own anti-traditions.
My tree stayed up all year, because it was just too big to take down and I was writing. It was one of the little things that I just didn’t fuss over, so on Thanksgiving it was kind of nice to just plug in the lights. I’ve promised that I will take it down on Dec. 26th this year.
Another thing we’ve started: Now, the night I say that I’m finished shopping, me and hubby wrap all the presents and that’s the night we have the sharing of gifts. This way, on Christmas day, we can really celebrate the important stuff. He and my children are Catholic, so there is always midnight mass, and we’ve found that they pay closer attention to the importance of the holiday if the anticipation of gifts aren’t in the way.
So, yeah, it’s unconventional and anti-traditional, but it works for our family. At least for now. Thanks for the post and I love the idea of shopping with hubby for ornaments.
Its truly about the traditions you make, and I think the new ones you’ve started are lovely. I’m guessing the tree that was up all year was artificial? Very cool and what a conversation piece!
Thanks for stopping by!
Christine! What a great idea to buy ornaments from various travels, sort of like how some people collect spoons, but much more sentimental, IMHO. Love it.
My family always has an Advent ring with candles, and it just doesn’t seem like Christmas without our little countdown-to-Christmas tree with a door for each day from Dec 1-25 with a tiny toy to put on that tree. That was one way to keep the kids under control unti the big day. Now that they’re gone, I still put it up and open each box every day until they come home for Christmas. Sigh.
Lynne my lovely!
My family always had an Advent wreath while I was growing up. The hubby and I, not so much, though I do love the tradition and the symbolism.
I guess it might be time for you and your hubby to start new traditions since the kids are grown. Yes?
Hi Christine! Our first Christmas eons ago, we got red gingham ornaments for the tree…still have a few, but most went along to my sister years ago. We also get an ornament on our travels. This year I got a mini-Fresnel light ornament at a lighthouse I climbed in Pt. Arena CA, and a little gold “Alamo” from my trip to San Antonio. I love to relive the memories.
Wonderful blog. Merry Christmas!
I love this topic!
Some of the traditions that come to mind are:
1. I love multi-colored lights on a Christmas tree – so much that my tree has between 3800 – 4000 lights! Our tree is artificial and can take me 2 days to put up.
2. When my daughter was born, each year I would buy two new ornaments with the year printed on them somewhere. By the time she moved into a home of her own and was celebrating her first Christmas, there were about 27 ornaments that had always been a part of her Christmas celebration to help make her feel ‘at home’.
3. Every Christmas Eve, I wrap th last of the presents while watching White Christmas…if there are lots of presents that need wrapping, Home Alone or Elf is up next.
Thanks for a very interesting blog.
Every year since returning to the U.S. from India, I’ve bought a single ornament that, for me, represents, that year. For instance, for the year my niece was born, a lavender unicorn ornament (turns out lavender is her favorite color). For the year I bought the house, a house ornament. For the year it looked like everything was going to work out all right, a large interwoven spangly 5-pointed 3D star. And so forth.
As I trim the tree, each year, I look at ornaments and remember the year they represent. A couple of years were so painful in retrospect I destroyed the ornament. One, the aforementioned star, I keep on top of my writing desk at home year-round, rather than pack it away. It still represents hope, sometimes when hope is hard to find.