Bree and I are taking down the tree today...I like to leave it up until Christmas vacation is officially over: that's today. I just love having it up. I love awakening in the dark, walking down the hall and switching on the tree's soft light to welcome the morning. I enjoy arising early and getting some tea and having my quiet time with God next to the tree. Some years I've left it up so long that I've been tempted to take down the Christmas decor and put up Valentines on it.
We traditionally put up the (artificial) tree the day after Thanksgiving...it is a big production. Every year lately, I say that I want to get a pre-lit tree...the lights take so long to apply and it is a job I greatly dislike. This year, Bree put about 2/3 of the lights on and I actually enjoyed doing the rest! I like so many lights on the tree, that if we did get a pre-lit tree, I'd most likely add more anyway.
Stringing popcorn is a tradition that I just love...we strung popcorn when I was young: a happy memory! It really doesn't take THAT long to string it and I like having something to do with my hands when we are watching all of those Christmas specials on tv! There is just no garland that looks so adorable...kind of rustic. Sometimes we add cranberries. This year we did just the popcorn. Because we have two rather large dogs, we cannot put the popcorn all the way to the bottom of the tree, otherwise the pups would help themselves to the handy snack. This morning, the strings of popcorn have been removed from the tree and are hanging on our squirrel feeder out in the yard. Hopefully our squirrels will help themselves before our next batch of snow falls and turns the popcorn into mush.
We buy our kiddos each an ornament each year, so that when they fly the coop, they'll have some ornaments for their tree in their own homes. In years of late, they have delighted in going to a local store called 'Hobby Lobby' and picking out their own. Our tree is not a themed one...it is a hodge-podge of memories...very casual and just fun. We just pile everyone's ornaments on and reminisce and enjoy them. For now, as we are taking down the tree, we just piled everyone's ornaments in the same containers together. Soon it will be time to separate them and for each to go his or her own way. (sigh)
After taking down our tree today, we have a few dozen candy canes leftover. At the beginning of the Christmas season, I could not buy candy canes fast enough to keep them on the tree 'cause everyone was chowing down on them. I guess the novelty wore off...the candy cane consumption has slowed considerably. But I found this website that should help us out: http://www.typetive.com/candyblog/item/33_candy_canes/ These suggestions will make it easy to utilize the leftovers, but might make it tough to stick to our healthier eating resolutions!