One of my favorite Christmas traditions from my childhood was decorating the tree. I remember it being kind of a big deal. We put on Christmas music or movies, baked cookies, had hot chocolate and peppermint candy canes and singing Christmas carols next to the tree with all the lights off and just the tree lit up.
I believe that in my life as a mom, I have carried this tradition on with my kids. Every year we have followed my childhood tradition and these nights make up some of my most favorite memories of my children’s childhoods. Even when our families split and we had kids sort of all over the place, we always made sure that we decorated the tree on a night when all of the kids could be present. This year my joy is tinged with just a touch of sadness that Damon and Tyler are not here with us.
I was enjoying a hot, relaxing bubble bath a couple of nights ago and my thoughts turned to decorating the tree and getting the house ready for Christmas. I was hoping that enveloping myself in that long-enjoyed tradition would help lift my spirits and get me more in the Christmas mood (something I’ve really been struggling with this year). As I thought about where we would put the tree and where I would display my little snowman village, stockings came to mind and I realized that this is the first year in 18 Christmas’ that Damon and Tyler won’t be with us. Yes, that did bring a few tears sliding down my cheeks. I debated on whether or not to hang their stockings. I’ve been debating about it for two or three days now.
My heart is warmed looking over the sofa and seeing all five of the kids’ stockings hung there. I won’t fill theirs since I’ll be sending all their Christmas gifts in the mail and as difficult as that is for me, my spirit is lifted that I am able to enjoy this night with my family, that I have enjoyed it for all of these years and that hopefully I have given my children a tradition to share with their own families as they grow into the husbands and fathers that they will be.