Holidays: New Traditions in a New Home

One of the things I was most excited bout when we moved into our new home this summer was the holiday memories we could make there. we finally had a space big enough to host some holiday events and lots more room to decorate. One of the first things I said when we moved in
was
“This is where the Christmas tree will go.” I insisted it go in the front window because there’s something so cozy and cheerful about seeing trees in the windows of houses on my runs during the holiday season. My son excitedly followed that with “and we have a fireplace to hang stockings this year! This was in APRIL when we found this house… and there we were thinking about December.

Some of the decor dreams for our house will take several years to implement as we are not interested in going crazy to buy all the trimming and fun items we’d like to store for Christmas eventually, but we did invest in some outdoor decor and have plenty of other holiday items to get us started and to bridge old traditions with some new family values and rhythms.

The mini tree is also where we keep our “advent calendar” books- each night a Christmas story is placed in the blue bag with the Jesse tree ornament on top- letting one kid open the book while the other hangs the ornament had really cut down on fighting… until little #3 is old enough to want in on the action…

One of the traditions in my childhood home was to get Christmas ornaments on vacations and keep them as memories. We have done that a few places, but not super consistently. One thing we decided after getting our national parks pass this year was that we’d start doing that consistently with national parks. Eventually we’d like to have a mini tree just for our national parks ornaments, but for now we don’t have enough to have that make sense so we will enjoy our Zion and Grand Canyon ornaments on our big Christmas tree this year. We did find a steal on a little pre-lit tree though and we are using it a little differently in the meantime…

I made a whole set of Jesse Tree ornaments last year and we are planning to use those for many years to come… last year we put them on our main tree, but this year we are using that mini tree as our Jesse Tree… a bit literal but the kids are having a blast with it.

It has been a weird time to settle into a new place (not half as weird as last year I’m guessing, but still…) and due to the tough timing of marketing this year and all the supply chain issues, my original plans of shopping post-holiday decor have thus far been foiled as… well… all the current holiday stuff seemed to be boxed up or sold out by several weeks before that holiday. When I went to shop post-Halloween the Christmas stuff was already half out of stock or on discount. It has been very strange. But I’m patient, we can wait until we find the things we like, even if it means we aren’t living the most festive decor dreams as we build up our simple but well loved supply of holiday decor over the years.

It is also a delight to watch the kids take Mary off the mantle and have her for a tea party…

In the meantime, we’ve hung our stockings just where my son imagined we would, and since we have a fireplace we started our new family tradition of Mary on the Mantel (or Mary on the Mantle if you like puns…) Think elf on the shelf only you take Mary with you each day to do acts of kindness and the parents don’t have to remember to move her at all… because the last thing I need during the holidays is one more thing to remember… We’ve also started settling in to the warm cozy feeling of only having the lights from the trees and our garlands on after the kids change into PJs and I love it.

I hope in years to come we’ll be able to host some holiday cheer at our house. We are holding off this year as our two youngest kids are still unvaccinated against COVID and numbers are raging in our state right now, but I have dreams of hot cocoa bars and cookie decorating chaos and open houses for family and friends to drop by and celebrate.

Speaking of celebrating, we are readily approaching the end of the year which means it is time to start wrapping up my year of “H” and preparing for moving int the year of “I” so if you missed any posts this year, the next few weeks can help you catch up.

 

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