Like many of you, the weekend after Thanksgiving is the time for decorating the house for the holidays. For many years, it was a chaotic, stressful and often angry weekend. My kids didn't want to help. The tree lights would be broken. The outdoor lights were a mess and on and on. I remember one year, my husband threw the Christmas tree off our balcony! However, I've persisted with my family, and I insist on a fully decorated and cheerful home for the holidays. It has paid off. My home is warm, cozy and beautiful. As my teenagers grow up, they are appreciating the effort and the feeling that is created. I showed my 22 year old the house over face time last night, and he was so happy to see it. "Oh mom," he said, "I love when you have that all up!"
I admit, I have help. I'm a surgeon with call and not often the greatest hours in December. I have had Todd and Rob come every year since 2007 to help on the house. It's a little indulgent, and I first started this as I hosted our office Christmas party. I really wanted to make things perfect with little time on my hands. Now, it's a yearly tradition. Todd and Rob have become part of our Christmas. This year, I got to spend some time with them as they finished up on the house ( usually, I'm stuck at the hospital!)
We reminisced about the last 12 years. Todd amazingly goes through the boxes and reinvents a new theme each year adding his own special touches in each room. When we have outgrown a decoration, I give them away. Last year, many decorations were brought down to my friend Maria's family in Nicaragua, so they could have decorations. My sister got a box for her office.
Each year, my children each get an ornament labeled with the year. When they were young, they all got snow globes. Someday, they will all take their boxes into their own homes and start their own traditions.
My husband makes the grandparents and myself photobooks each year for our gift. In the era of cell phone cameras, it is such a wonderful book of pictures to remember the year.
Decorations really do create a special feeling. My friend Natasha just sent me the nicest message commenting on how much she loves coming to my house at Christmas as it is so warm and inviting. Now, my challenge will be to create that feeling when the decorations come down in January.
Not everyone can have a Todd or a Rob, but it's not about the stuff. It's about the feeling you create for your children. It's the memories and traditions you will pass along to them.
Enjoy this month as you uphold your traditions and pass them along!