We Are Both Right

The Best Holidays For Kids Are the Ones They Are Truly a Part Of

© lizerixt/stock.xchng

© lizerixt/stock.xchng

Every year, we name our Christmas trees. I know, it’s strange, but it’s part of a whole thing that we do, which includes cutting it down ourselves (every time I say that “we” cut down the tree my husband snorts). We try to keep with a botany theme — past monikers have included Douglas Firbanks, Spruce Bpringstreen and Kevin McCallister (not tree related but that was the year we spent Christmas in Miami and our tree was “Home Alone.”)

Anyway, three years ago (that would have been Tim Burr), by the end, right before Christmas Eve, the poor tree was looking a little bedraggled. Tired. It had had quite enough of the kids and the company and the presents and everything else we subject these conifers to. The kids had decorated it, and in a style that is typical when your designers are  under-four-feet-tall, all the ornaments could be found dangling in the front bottom quadrant. The lights and garlands were sagging, because no matter how many times I told them not to, both A. and C. would hang the balls and hooked tchotchkes off of them, rather than the branches.

Still, it was our tree — the kids’ tree — and even though there was nary a decoration to be found near the top (or on the sides, or in the back), it was beautiful (even though I started calling it Aunt Bethany after the character from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation). And I’m glad that both T. and I feel the same way — that there will be plenty of time in the future to have a perfect tree with impeccably hung ornaments and straight garlands. For now, what’s important to us is that the holiday season be something we are all a part of.

And for our family of five, that means doing the holidays up big. Lots of gifts, lots of food, lots of fun. For all my grumbling that I spend too much time shopping and wrapping and making things even, nothing makes me happier than a huge pile of gifts for the kiddos under the tree. Materialistic? Maybe, but it’s more than that.

Last year we spent Christmas Eve just the five of us. And we dined on Beef Wellington after spending the day at the movies and opening gifts from faraway relatives. We’ve gone ice skating on Christmas Eve, attended plays — for us, the holidays are about celebrating the day, but each other as well. And that means doing something special.

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Still in pre-holiday festivities mode, still agreeing with Suzanne for Where We Meet Week. Read her take here.

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