Decking some halls.

fall2016-352fall2016-353fall2016-354fall2016-355fall2016-357fall2016-358fall2016-359fall2016-361fall2016-364fall2016-366fall2016-367fall2016-368fall2016-373fall2016-377fall2016-379Christmas is a wonderful time of year for those of us who are blissful repeaters. I love repetition and genuinely don’t get tired of things. I love eating the same lunch every day, making the same breakfast, doing the same things — glorious habits that let me settle into beloved ruts and revel. Which is basically how traditions are born.

Since we go back and forth between families for Christmas, we decided early in our marriage to make the special traditions for our little family fall during the weeks of Advent instead of Christmas morning. That way we feel like we have had our own new family traditions no matter where we end up being on Christmas. We don’t do anything too fancy, but James and I look forward to our evening of walking to Eastern Market, picking out a tree, hauling it home, and decorating it as we eat gingerbread and drink hot cocoa before curling up to watch Elf.

This year, as we were sans car, live a little further from Eastern Market, and wanted a bigger tree, I had the genius idea to take the seat off our stroller and use it as a dolly. James was skeptical, but it totally worked and made us feel shamefully yuppie and urban, but also proud to get our tree easily home. Henry was deeply fascinated by the lights, and I decided I should wrap him in them to take a cute photo…which promptly ended when he tried to stuff all of them in his mouth. I spent hours trying to wrangle my garlands into something that didn’t look like I had dismembered the Grinch above the mantle, ultimately deciding that 40 feet of garland might be a tad too much for our 900 foot apartment. We had to hang all our ornaments on the front of the tree because we have the tiniest box of decorations ever. But at last, our home took on that magical glow that I love about the Christmas season.

Nothing – not the stress of our car, or finding childcare for the spring, or anything else – can dampen that glow. We spend a lot of time in front of our tree, beginning and ending our days there, holding Henry close and feeling that special warmth of Christmas. I know he doesn’t know what’s going on, and won’t remember any of this. But I will, and watching my little family soak in the warmth of our tree, the peace in our home in the midst of a season and world that are anything but peaceful is something that I most assuredly will remember.

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