Decorating the Christmas Tree is one of my favorite holiday traditions – even though, in a way, I didn’t grow up with the actual activity as a tradition.
Back at home in Germany, my mother would set up the tree and decorate it behind closed doors on Christmas Eve. We then would wait in the dark hallway until my mother would chime a bell and open the door. In the middle of the otherwise pitch-dark house shone the Christmas tree lit-up by candles and with presents all around. We would sing a song as we walked in and then the fun began…
In America, people decorate their tree weeks if not even almost a month in advance (the day after Thanksgiving) – and wrapped presents start compiling under the tree in plain view as they come into the house.
For all those years that my American husband Scott and I have spent the holiday away from our families, we have combined our traditions by getting a tree just a few days before Christmas and decorating it together. On Christmas Eve we have a nice dinner and open the German presents and talk to my folks. On Christmas day we open the American presents and talk to his folks – and then have friends come over for food and drink. Over ten years ago we also added the tradition to read funny stories (usually by David Sedaris) and maybe watch a funny movie, like A Christmas Story.
Every year we have added special Christmas ornaments. Unfortunately, right now they are still packed up in a green wooden hat box (that Becky Hawk gave me) in Brooklyn. So we started all over again this time with new ornaments and created wonderful new memories to mix in with lovely old memories of holidays together.
This video shows a lot of us (Scott, me and our dog Whiskey) and our current home… we made it especially to share this personal and happy time with you, our friends and family – here in America, in Germany, and around the world.
Wishing all of you a happy holiday with love and peace in your heart and mind.
P.S.: The song was recorded by James D. Blodget and is kindly available via Wiki Commons. Thank you, James!
P.P.S.: That cardboard house on the bar is our 3D Adventskalendar, which we actually discovered at a small drugstore here in Fort Collins called City Drug, which has an impressive selection of European foods, super sweet owners, who speak German, and the all-important Christmas tree candle holders.