Christmas is a time of traditions. They are a part of our lives growing up, and then after we leave home, we form our own over the years, with our families, our partners, and our friends. Traditions have an air of excitement, fun, comfort—something to look forward to, something we can rely on. They often involve decorating a tree with ornaments that have been handed down through generations, pieces that have been made by children and hold a special place in our heart, or simply decorations that have been accumulated over the years. Decorating the tree can be a fun and special time, pulling out boxes that have been stored away for the year, unwrapping the decorations from the tissue paper and releasing memories that lie dormant from one Christmas to the next.
We always put up our tree at the beginning of December so that we have a whole month to enjoy the festive atmosphere it brings to the room. Each year, Nick and I buy a decoration to hang on the tree, or to stand on the mantelpiece or the hearth. It has become one of our traditions, choosing it together. We often find one at a Christmas craft fair, or sometimes at the Trade Aid shop, handmade by somebody in a foreign land. We never have a theme for our tree, and nothing is colour co-ordinated. It is an eclectic mishmash of traditional, contemporary, and whimsical pieces collected over the years.
Every year, Nick’s family in England send us an ornament to hang on the tree. We have many of them now, and when we look at them, we think of his family celebrating a winter Christmas on the other side of the world, while we celebrate ours in the middle of summer!
Another tradition I have is to do a Christmas craft each year. I make either a decoration to hang on the tree, or something to decorate the room. Over the years I have made an appliqued wallhanging of carolers, a felted Santa, beaded angels, a cardboard nativity set. This year I made up a Kaisercraft wooden kitset advent calendar. The calendar can be decorated to each individual’s taste with colours, scrapbook papers and embellishments. I painted the box with gold paint, used traditional Christmas images on the drawers and a contemporary picture of Santa in a hot air balloon for the back panel of the box. It is a mix of my traditional taste and Nick’s contemporary taste, but I thought the images worked well together. I printed out the numbers on the computer for the drawers. Now all I have to do is to buy some treats to put inside them!