Friday, December 22, 2023

Putting up the Christmas tree is one thing that brings the kids back home

The day we set up our Christmas tree and decorate the house for the holidays is always a big deal. It often happens the weekend after Thanksgiving, but this year it was the first weekend of December.

And as expected, it doubled our house population, even if only for a few hours.

Four of our five kids have moved out and are on their own, but that day we had two of them home (plus Jack, who still lives with us) to drag out the Christmas stuff, get the artificial tree upright and relatively straight, dig through boxes, hang ornaments, and perhaps most fun of all, reminisce about Christmases past.

When they were little, Christmas tree day was never difficult to schedule. We just picked a Saturday or a Sunday and they would all be there because, until they got to be teenagers, it wasn't like they had especially full social calendars.

Now, however, as is the case when we try to get family birthday celebrations scheduled, there are all sorts of factors that come into play. Vacations, work schedules, commitments with their significant others' families, and general young adult stuff can make it difficult to find a day and time that works for everyone.

This year, for instance, we put the tree up on a Sunday evening, which I'm guessing was a first. Jack was scheduled to work until 6pm, so we delayed the decorating from it's usual early-afternoon slot.

When you have little ones, the idea of a permanently quiet, empty house can be appealing. And believe me, it is kind of nice. But there are still times when you just wish you had your kid/kids at home for a little while, which is where the holidays really come in handy.

We'll see them all again in a few days on Christmas, but I have a feeling that, by the time I'm old and gray and can't see straight, memories of those Christmas tree setup days will be just as valuable as memories of the holiday itself.

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