Friday, December 10, 2010

O' Tannenbaum

Whenever I attempt to do something that is essentially continuing on a tradition or starting a new one for our little family, the song, 'Tradition,' from the musical, 'Fiddler on the Roof,' blares through my head. And if you know the song it is a very angry song about family traditions, and isn't that sometimes the way though? We sometimes do these things because we did them last year, the year before, because your grandparents did it, and so did the immigrants who brought your family to America, now stick with it, they rode on a rickety old boat for months, the least you could do is keep the traditions going!

'Who must know the way to make a proper home, a quiet home, a kosher home?'

Christmas tends to bring this out of us. We must do it this way! I am a big tradition follower and also making them on our own for our little family. I look back on Christmas and there are things growing up that consistently happen every Christmas, and if it doesn't well it just doesn't feel the same. It's a rigid way to celebrate the holidays, I know, but you have to to what you have to do.

I can remember when I was really young we went to church where our entire family went to church because that is where you went to church. Each year we would have the Christmas Nativity. One year I was even Mary and got to ride a donkey. That is something. As Kendall says it, I was, 'Mary, the Mother of Jesus.' This is how she refers to her. Joseph is Joseph and the Wise Men, the Wise Men, but Mary, she is Mary the Mother of Jesus. She must have loads of respect for her, as we should.

Anyway, as I was saying, each year we would reenact this on Christmas Eve for the children's service that they have. Each year we would have sugar cookies and milk during the service. I don't know, I don't know why this correlates to the Nativity and Christ's birth but, I would seriously break all out in these cold sweats, stomach turning. I would get all anxious knowing and thinking I had to eat these cookies, like they were communion bread and wine. The milk was warm, whole, milk, almost curdled and the cookies were so sickly sweet that my teeth just wanted to rot right there on the spot. I would go to bed sick every Christmas Eve praying that I wouldn't barf because that is terrible to be barfing when Santa is coming. When we went to a new church and just held candles and didn't have to drink the dreadful cookies and milk on Christmas Eve I sang the Christmas Hymns at the top of my lungs, so joyous, Hark those Herald Angels! But it was tradition, and every Christmas Eve I think of that milk and cookies, it will never leave me and I puke a little in my mouth.

So we do many traditions with the offspring around the holidays. Hopefully I will get to share a bit of them with you as we go through it, we'll see, you never know who is going to go and have an all out bad day threatening a butt load of coal to be expressed delivered, and enabling me to not get a thing done and therefore not post.

So you must start with decorating, who does not decorate every room in their house? Yes, I am an overzealous decorating fool who does indeed decorate her children's rooms stringing lights around head boards and little knick kancks here and there. Sugar.Plums.Dancing.In.Heads.
We recently went to obtain a Christmas tree with the children. It happened to be frigid that day. But you know, according to tradition, we must get out there, get ourselves a real tree, cut it down, make sure it is just the right one to have as the gift bearer this holiday season.

So we bundle them all up, each of them resembling the child in the Christmas Story. Arms out to the side, not able to put them down because of the layers, it was ridiculous. I, of course, think this is hilarious and keep bringing their arms to their side and watching them pop back up. They don't think its too silly.

And we just can't have a fake tree. Give me a break. We need the real one, the one that has all the needles that fall all over the floor. The ones that burn out your vacuum cleaner. The ones that you are still finding nestled between your carpet and trim in July.

So we walk, we walk with the tree hauler, the saw, the children, the stroller, all of us, to find the perfect tree. In typical fashion at the first nice looking tree Andy turns and says, 'how about this one?' In a field of hundreds of trees he is going to stop at the first one. It never fails. It took me an hour to get everyone together in their warm weather wear, we are not stopping at the first tree, we are just not. So we trudge on.

'I'm cold.'
'My feet hurt.'
'It hurts to breathe.'
'My nose is cold.'
'Why are we doing this?'
'Why does Jacob get to ride in the stroller?'

I ignore all of it. However, at one point I turn to my little cherubs and say, 'This is what we do. This is tradition. We will bring your children to cut down a tree, you will bring their children to cut down a tree. No one in the history of our little family will have an artificial tree at Christmas, now get it together, Christmas time is cold, that's they way it is.'

Ethan stops at this one. He likes the color of it. I do too if you like the look of a dead tree. I told him that we could get that one, but we couldn't put any lights on it, because this kind of tree would burst into flames when Mommy puts her 1,000 lights on it.

**This is also what it looks like when a 3 yr. old boy has to pee and says he doesn't. With all the trees available...he waits until we get back to the car.**

So he moved on.

You know the drill. Too fat, too tall, too many holes, too skinny, I don't like the needle type. And then we find one. Ta Da! A little haircut will do it some ddo, but its perfection, that and the baby was starting to scream.

We trudge back. Ethan is very angry at this point...

'Look, we go all dis way to find a tree, and we have to walk all the way back, it's not fair!'

'Not fair, is not having a tree on Christmas. Rejoice. This is Jacob's first Christmas, this is fun.'

So on we go. We get back to the car, and I know it. I know Andy will say it. He does every year.'The tree is so small. I think we got too small of a tree, the guy wrapped it up in seconds, it's too small.'

Does he not know who he is married too? I am like the crazy holiday decorator, I am in the woman in the Target commercial running all over the store. I know what size tree we need.

Later that night after a friend get together, we returned home to the Christmas Tree to decorate it. I promised Kendall had she fallen asleep in the van on the way, I would wake her up. I know, right? It's like telling a bomb you will be back to watch it explode. But I did, I woke her up, and she raced inside. I also tried to wake Ethan up and he replied, 'Leave me alone!' I said, 'we are going to decorate the Christmas Tree, are you ok with missing that?' He screamed, 'Yes! Let me sweep!' Alright, so now we know we have to fight just a little bit harder with this soldier to hammer tradition into his head. Duly noted.

So after the hanging of the 1,000 lights, we were ready to decorate. About 10:30 she asks, 'Mommy are you sleepy, cause I am, you can finish this for me if you aren't.' It's like clock work. You make them think that you desperately need their help to decorate the tree, you get them when they are tired, they help because it is exciting, but they are tired, so their memory is a little fuzzy, you send them to bed, free reign to decorate. They wake up in the morning, tree is done, they proclaim, 'Look at how we decorated the tree, its perfect!' Get that 'we' in there? It is perfect.

Here's hoping that your traditions are going just as swimmingly.

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