Every year since my oldest kids were very little, we’ve made a big deal out of decorating for the holidays.
Not the decorations themselves, so much. Our holiday decór is a hodgepodge collection of items my husband and I bought or were given when newly married, rare newer purchases, thrift-store finds, the kids artwork, and a few simple crafts.
But setting up all those treasures? For the younger kids in the family, it’s the official kick-off of the season. And I love it, too — getting to transform the house from autumn to Christmastime, from everyday to festive and magical.
At some point soon after Thanksgiving — never soon enough for the kids! — we pull all of the red and green bins out of the basement and look through them. Even though we’ve been using a lot of the same decorations for years, there are always “oohs” and “aahs” of surprise when the kids pull out a forgotten favorite.
The process usually takes a couple of days. With Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole playing in the background, we first arrange all of the table decorations, like the advent calendar, Santa figurines, and nativity scene. The kids and I arrange and rearrange until everything looks just right to everyone’s eyes. (I long ago learned that I can’t try to “fix” anything while they aren’t looking, because they always notice.) After that we enjoy a treat — cocoa and popcorn, for example — and watch a holiday movie.
Later that week, we get the tree. While my husband starts the process of stringing it with white lights, I begin slowly unwrapping dozens of glass balls, small porcelain figurines, and an assortment of popsicle stick and cardboard ornaments from their tissue paper rest. The kids are always so excited to hang “their” ornaments — the ones they’ve brought home from school or church, or made here at home — amid the shiny metal and glass ornaments we’ve amassed over the years.
Our home’s Christmas decór will probably never grace the cover of a home design magazine, but I’m fine with that. To me the beauty is all in the experience of creating a holiday together, one well-loved piece at a time.
Check out the story of our family’s holiday decorating tradition here!