The Christmas season starts for us on Dec. 1st. I take out the "Days Till Christmas Slate" and hang that in the dining room. I also buy Advent Calendars. There are 25 numbered little windows with a little chocolate treat inside. Each child gets a treat for 25 days. This year I bought 7, not on ly for my own but for the girlfriends. And so the count down begins. A little time after that Katie and I make a wreath out of greens clipped from the yard. We wrap them in a wreath frame that has 4 candle holders. We place in 4 new candles and our Advent Wreath is done. On the 4 Sundays before dinner, We start our meal with the lighting of the wreath. Walt reads a scripture he selected. then we have a bit of discussion and then the blessing.
Soon boxes of garland and floral picks are retrieved from the basement and the house is decorated. We don't put out many outdoor lights, only a strand above the front porch and a couple strands on the old small maple tree near the garage.
The next tradition is to cut a tree. We dress up warm, drive a tree farm. We try a different place each year. This year David (17 yrs) was entrusted with the chainsaw. Walt and Katie carried the tree to the van. We move the small piano to the foyer and the tree gets placed in the corner. We usually decorate it the same day. Walt leaves the tree lights the first night. What a joy to wake up when its dark and quiet and come down to a beautiful tree.
I bake as many christmas cookies as I can. Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg cloves, icing and colored sanding sugars are liberally used. Plates of cookies are given to neighbors and clients.
On christmas eve stockings are placed on the book shelf .
One of out best traditions is one that of kids did themselves. Each of the children had (have) their own bedroom. Years ago when they were little, Brian our oldest invited the others to sleep with him on Christmas eve. Sleeping bags were dragged on the floor and sleets were slung thought the whole large room making a big "tent". On Christmas morning, I wake up early and make coffee. Soon the kids wake up and whisper to each other while I give Walt a cup of coffee. As soon as he's dressed and gets the camera ready they are summoned. They assemble on the top of the staircase youngest to oldest and walt down to the tree. Then they sit on the couch while I dispense a gift at a time. We all share the happiness and joy when someone opens a special gift. Soon all of the gifts are open. We pick up the carnage (wrapping paper, etc) and I go fix a special breakfast.