December is here and I think I'm the only one without any Christmas decorations up yet! Not to worry, though; we're right on track with the traditional Trumbo approach to the holidays. Tomorrow is the day to put up the Christmas wreath and the window candles. Saturday I'll wash the holiday mugs for display and use. Next week I'll put the garland up in the dining room and hang some mistletoe. Then the baking begins! We will get our tree on December 18th. Why so late? Because we always wait until school is out so we can actually enjoy the process of putting it up and decorating. (And Rick likes to look for "specials" as the countdown of days gets closer to the 25th.) The girls will hang the ornaments after Rick tussles with the lights. Then, we'll settle back and enjoy the lovely soft lights and the amazing aroma of fresh pine. That, more than anything else, puts me in the Christmas mood.
I think my family's favorite tradition has to do with food, though. Like everyone else, I do a lot of holiday baking - special cookies and treats that I only make once a year. I begin early and freeze as much as I can for Christmas day. On that day, I put out a dessert buffet of all the goodies, and everyone is allowed to eat from it at any time of the day. I don't monitor my husband's fat intake or my children's sugar intake that day - it's one of my gifts to them. ☺ We enjoy a bountiful breakfast that morning, then keep a pot of Christmas stew on the stove and fresh bread on the counter for whenever anyone gets hungry. After breakfast, there's the general mayhem of presents and play, and with five children, eight grandchildren, and my mom all pitching in, that's a lot of activity!
The predictability of these things is one of the special aspects of the Christmas season. It's the anticipation of the special foods, the favorite ornaments, the same routine that generates an eager, joyful feeling about the holidays. The shared memories of family traditions is a gift that I enjoy year after year.