I have nearly finished my Christmas shopping, and thank goodness. That's probably my least favorite thing about the season.
One of the things I love most about Christmas, and probably my favorite tradition, is decorating the tree.
We have a lot of ornaments, in part because my mother gives us all a new one every year, and also because she saved the ornaments I made in nursery school and kindergarten (!), and I've saved ornaments my own kids have made. Some years, my mother was clearly a desperate woman when it came to selecting ornaments. How else to explain the Seven of Nine ornament? Our own family's choice of ornaments (because we buy them, too) tends toward the Three Stooges. Yes, I'm serious. My husband also really likes his Gordie Howe ornament.
We put on many lights, including the traditional bubble lights. Those are narrow ornaments with fluid inside that bubbles when it gets hot. My folks had their original string for, I swear, at least forty years. When I found one in a store? Oh, happy, glorious day!
We have many homemade ornaments. Before I sold my first book, or even considered being a writer, my younger sister and I had a craft show every November in my home. Since this is the sister I couldn't go shopping with without coming home in a snit, my parents were very concerned about us working together. Fortunately, it was fine, because she made her ornaments, I made mine and we only got together to sell them.
I'm glad we have several cloth ornaments, because with three cats? It could get messy.
The other thing we do that I'm sure has caused our neighbors to wonder if we're performing some kind of barbaric ritual in our living room involves dancing. When we're doing the tree, we put on the Bing Crosby Christmas album. When it gets to Jingle Bells, we do a sort of modified jive, until there's a pause in the music. Then we "freeze" until the music starts again. From the outside? Must look really weird. But we don't care. It's our "thing" and we're sticking with it.
To me, one of the great things about Christmas is the chance to make up your own fun, family traditions.