Merry Christmas!

For each of us Christmas is a very special time of year. Each family has it's own traditions, their very own way of celebrating this festive day.

At our house, Christmas doesn't start to happen until we are all present. Our Christmas is about family. Tonight Peter (our son)  arrived home for the holidays. Pete and I went out to the shop to build a stand for the tree. This year we had a live tree. It was very short and a little scrawny. It was nicknamed our Charlie Brown tree some days ago when I brought it home. Our old farmhouse is small and in a few days will be bursting with extended family. A big tree simply isn't an option.

Pete and I carried the tree and stand into the house as Bec & Phoebe arrived.  This was exciting, for the start of Christmas had arrived at last! Before we could officially start, the Muppet's Christmas album was plugged in as it has been every year since the kids were very little. This is our tradition.

The wooden stand, which elevated the tree to make room for the mountain of presents that will arrive with our guests in coming days, was carefully wrapped with bright Christmas paper. The tree was too small for lights this year so they were left in the box. Then a single tinsel garland and a multitude of ribbons were wound around the tree. Peter took care of the top of the tree while Phoebe minded the bottom. Janis curled the ribbon to make it festive.Then Phoebe and I (under Grandma's watchful eye) carefully unwrapped the precious heirloom ornaments. There was Peter's toilet paper roll with bits of tinsle glued on. He had made it 32 year's pervious when he was in preschool. Bec's paper star (made a year later) was next. Other hand made ornaments from later years were brought out as well. The ornaments Janis had sewn in the first years we were married were added to the collection. And Phoebe and I picked out a couple of Aunty Gay's handmade angels to add to the tree as well. The angles were many and it was hard to choose only a few favorites. A couple of my mom's hand made ornaments were selected to join the rest. Phoebe proudly brought her collection of hand made paper ornaments to hang as well. As we worked together decorating the tree, happy music played and we laughed and remembered many Christmas's past. The tree was topped with an angel far too big, but it was one the kids had given to Janis years ago. It flutters it wings and 'flies' towards the ceiling. As the angel rises, the tree leaned slightly and all the ornaments jiggled precariously. Then she slowly setttled on top of the tree once more. It was a beautiful thing for it is all about our family and our traditions.

It will be a busy time as I and my crew do the last of our work in the shop before the break. In the next days, more and more of our extended family will arrive. Beds need to be set up and made ready. The house will get one last polish. There will be last minute trips to town for various things. Some will sneak off to private places in the house to wrap last minute gifts. Christmas Eve we will gather at a Chinese restaurant for a feast as we have done for many, many years. Then most likely we'll go for a drive in a caravan, looking at Christmas lights. When it is late, we will come back to our house and do our best to send the kids off to bed. While Christmas music plays, the many stockings are stuffed with small treasures from Santa. The house will slowly quieten down as folks head off to bed. Christmas morning will start early with much excitement. The house will smell of fresh baking and roasted turkey. There will be lots of hugs. laughter, and way too much food. We will play games, visit and just be family. Boxing day the fun will continue. This is our tradition.

I wish everyone a happy and blessed Christmas. May it be a time of joy and one of your traditions.

Merry Christmas all!

-grampa dan