Let me set the scene. We’ve rearranged the living room furniture, creating an empty space in front of the window, next to the fireplace. Several storage tubs have been dragged out of the spare bedroom closet, where they were precariously Tetris-ed into place a year ago. A large, oblong, beat-up box sits and waits to be cut open. The box’s layers of old packing and masking tape reveal the age of this ritual. It’s Christmas time!

“Hey Google, play Christmas music!”

The hubby and I are putting up our Christmas tree.

Time-Honored Tradition.

We both love the holidays, and this tradition officially kicks off the season for us every year.

Now, the first part is not very fun. We extract our beloved tree from its beat-up box, needles falling everywhere, and clumsily Frankenstein the sucker together. Holding our breath, we plug it in, and high-five when the lights come on. “Yessss! It lives one more year!” Then unplug it and get to work fluffing up the branches and scratching up our arms in the process. “From pain will come pleasure,” I remind myself.


Once she’s looking more like a real tree and less like she’s been squished into a box for the last year, we get to have some fun! It’s time to decorate! We have a few different sets of ornaments that we choose from as the base for the tree’s theme each year. But then, we also have our special ornaments, the ones that go on the tree every year no matter what the theme is. Putting the special ornaments on the tree is my very favorite part of the whole operation. 

Every year, we get one special ornament to add to our collection. Our very first Christmas together as a married couple, we chose a silver ornament of the word “love” along with two small silver hearts. This ornament goes front and center on the tree every year. The year we bought our first house, we got a key ornament. The year my hubby became a United States citizen (he’s originally from Canada), we got an American flag ornament. The special ornaments represent significant events in our lives. In years when we don’t really have anything major to commemorate, we add a heart ornament to the tree for that year. This year, we’ll add our seventeenth special ornament to the tree. 

Next comes the auditing process. (I am a financial statement auditor by trade, but I also audit Christmas tree ornament placement in my free time.) After making sure there’s not too much red over here and there’s not an empty patch over there, we stand back and decide she’s done.

Plug It In

We turn off all the lights in the house.  Then (holding our breath again, because we’ve been vigorously fluffing and tugging and adorning) we plug her in. Three, two, one… it’s Christmas time!

We finish by getting the tree skirt in place. This requires both of us laying on our stomachs on the floor, smoothing all the skirt’s wrinkles, and can’t be done until the end because our beloved tree sheds needles like nobody’s business.

Haphazardly, we throw the empty boxes and storage tubs back into the spare bedroom and shut the door until January. We cue up the movie Elf on TV, flop onto the couch, and crank up the A/C- because we’re in Texas. It’s 79 degrees outside while we’ve been decorating with cute snowmen inside. Now we sit back and enjoy our little Christmas wonderland. 

“Ahhh, I love Christmas time!”