So it was 75 degrees, and the children and I bought a live tree! When Jimmy brought it home last night the children discovered a little bird's nest nestled in the branches. We just decorated around it. I had already arranged for Kelly, a long-time friend of ours from college to come last night to do the major decorating--he hangs the garland on the stairway and balcony, makes the table centerpieces, drapes beautiful garland on various pieces of furniture and light fixtures, and decorates the mantel. Sam calls this friend Kelly the other Kelly. Not to be confused with the regular Kelly, who is our dear friend that we see several times a week. (Married to Lynn).
We all got started about 6:00 PM. The children were eager to help in any way they could! They brought boxes down from storage, cleaned the kitchen, and folded clothes while they patiently waited for me to put the lights on. Olivia (since she is taller than me), helped me put the lights on the highest part of the tree, and then they all jumped around to Christmas music while I finished the lights. Jimmy watched the festivities for a little while, but then he had to go to sleep--he had worked all night the night before, and hadn't slept since Saturday!
And finally they could begin.
For two hours they decorated our beautiful tree! They giggled and shouted and reminisced over each ornament. They know where every ornament came from, whose it is, and what stories are behind it. Precious memories. I gave them each two new ornaments, but I forgot to get them out until after they had been decorating for 3o minutes or so. They all smiled and said, "We thought you had forgotten". Of course not! Every year I give them one or two new ornaments to hang on our tree. Some have special meaning, some are related to a particular interest the child has, and some are just cute and I thought they would like it.
About an hour into the decorating Julie made apple cider for everyone. Then Sam and Leah had hot chocolate--and it was almost 10:00! I stayed busy in the kitchen switching out my every day dishes for my three sets of Christmas ones. I treasured the lively conversations I overheard while they decorated.
By 10:30 or so the tree was done! We cleaned up everything, put all the boxes away, and admired our work. Then I put everyone to bed. Next, I cleaned up my gift wrap station in the storage room. Olivia, Julie, and I have all been wrapping presents, and also I have done a good bit of shopping over the last week--the gift wrapping table was a disaster! So I spent about an hour cleaning it all up, organizing it, and now it is ready. I finished around midnight.
We have one more day of school, today before our Thanksgiving break begins.