Monday, November 28, 2011

Holidays & Tradition

We love Christmas at our house.  Oh, who am I kidding?  We love all the holidays!  Any excuse to decorate the house and yard (Halloween, Christmas) or cook a big meal (with homemade pecan pie) for the entire family (Thanksgiving) or watch fireworks from the local Futon Shop parking lot (4th of July and a blog post all its own).
Only the beginning!
We have our holiday traditions although some of them may not be for everyone (it takes a special person to want to watch fireworks from the parking lot of a furniture store).  One of our traditions at Christmas is to decorate the outside of the house  with hundreds of lights, candy canes, snowmen, blow up penguins – you name it, we probably have it and if we don’t it’s because it won’t fit in the yard.

Confession: we have so many holiday decorations that my husband gave me a birthday gift of a shed to store them all in!
I know this isn’t very “green” of me to indulge this tradition but it is fun, it brings us joy to set it all up and brings joy to people driving by our house to look at the decorations.  It even brings the electric company joy (okay, that’s my least favorite part aside from taking them all down).

Yesterday, hubby hauled all the decorations out of the shed (no small feat for someone with chronic back pain) and my daughter and I went to work setting everything up.  Once hubby recovered from the hauling, he helped hang snowflakes from the gutters.  Robert was visiting for the Thanksgiving weekend but, at first, didn’t care to sit outside to watch the transformation.  He thought it would be too cold outside; plus, he had a word search puzzle to finish.
Midway through the decorating, Daughter and I had to make a trip to Target to get more lights (hey, it was needed - this was the year many of the lights decided to not work and there were those cute snowflakes we needed more of).   When we returned, Robert joined us on the porch wearing a warm jacket and watched us blow up penguins, put together a train and install solar candy canes along the sidewalk.  We’re getting more “green” this year after all!

We were thrilled with the result after working on it all day (and we’re not even done yet – there are always more lights to hang!).  Robert looked at the finished product and proclaimed it looked “excellent” which is saying a lot, considering his usual response to anything is a very understated, “that’s nice.”
Daughter, husband and I had to agree: it was pretty excellent!

What traditions do you enjoy with your family?  Anyone else enjoy decorating to the extreme?


Cindy said...

We have outdoor decorating traditions-but our biggest tradition is indoors when my son Robert sets up his rather large collection of nutcrackers each year...and it is always "excellent" but also no fun to put away.

Here is a video we made this year of his collection:

Your yard decorating sounds fun! I love that you got a shed for your birthday! :) practical!

Jane said...

We don't decorate the outside of our house as we sit behind another house and we can barely be seen by the road. I have always love Christmas until last year and then my spirit has started to waiver. I do love putting up the Christmas tree with Nicole while watching some Christmas show.

I love that you got a shed for your birthday too.

Jane~ mom to Nicole, 17 yo, VSD, PAH, Eisenmengers, BHJS
"If you don't like something change it, if you can't change it, change the way you think about it."

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Jane, I understand your spirit wavering after Nicole's diagnosis. Enjoy those moments where you're watching a Christmas show together! What do you like to watch? We love Christmas shows too -- my daughter and I find Elf hilarious so we watch that every year. I have to watch Frosty too! :-)

Anonymous said...


I am at a time in my life when my Christmas Traditions are changing. My other 2 sons have families of their own, live in other parts of the country, and are establishing their own traditions. I have to admit it was hard at first, but now, I'm liking the change. I miss having little kids around during the Holidays, but the quiet, simple, less hectic Holiday Season has it's pluses too. So, I'm in the process of making new and simple traditions.

I think, when Jason lost interest in Christmas several years ago,that was my low point. He used to LOVE Christmas. Always a kid at Heart!...:-)... Not sure why the change, but it was sad to see happening. Maybe, he too, just wants simple and quiet at this time in his life.

I don't put up a big tree anymore, just lots of greenery round the house with some lights sprinkled in here and there. I have a small Gingerbread Tree and Decorations in the Kitchen & Dining Room, since that is where I spend most of my time...:-):-):-)...

As for gifts, I don't buy gifts, just give the kids & grandkids Christmas $$$ to spend as they wish and in return ask that instead of gifts to us they donate to a Charity. They are more than happy with that as it takes the pressure off of them to "think" of something for us...LOL...:-):-) and gives them an opportunity to buy something they have been saving for. Everyone is happy!!

Decorating outside, not so much!!...ND Winters can be windy and cold. Something I don't care to deal with when it comes to decorating outside. Fun to put up, but taking down in January when the temps are umpteen below zero with 40 mph thanks!!...:-):-)...So, that is kept to a bare minimum with a wreath on the door.

Ah, but the baking...LOVE baking Christmas goodies....that has not changed...:-):-)...nor has making Homemade Christmas Cards. So, a few things have stayed the same.

May you all have lots of laughter and sunny days as you go about getting ready for the Christmas Holiday...:-)


Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Linda, I don't blame you for skipping the outdoor decorations with that weather! I don't think we put up decorations outside when we lived in Nebraska either. Way too cold! :-) I wish I had more time to bake as I love baking but maybe I'll try to sneak something in. How wonderful you make homemade cards! I did that a few times but it was very time consuming. It was so much fun, though! Your gift giving idea is so smart -- I'm sure the kids love buying what they've had their eye on for a while. :-) Robert doesn't really get excited about anything (so I was quite surprised when he used "excellent" instead of "that's nice.") but I think he enjoys something a little different from the routine. Isn't it something how they change and we can't explain why? Anyway, I hope you and your family have a lovely Christmas too!

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Cindy, I can't wait to see the nutcracker video. It must really mean something to your Robert since it probably takes forever to set them all up! I do love practical gifts so the shed was fantastic. :-) Wishing you and your family much fun during the holidays!

Judy, The Reflective Writer said...

I can see you don't waste any time in preparing your decorations! I am most impressed.

Because I don't celebrate Christmas, I always look at Christmas decorations the way one views a decorated home--from the outside, looking in. I love to see Christmas lights, but I look at them a bit as a stranger rather than relating to a personal tradition. As a child we often drove around looking at lights, and my husband and I continue to do so now and then. We would no doubt want to stop at your house and look!

It sounds as if the decoration is very much part of the loving, family tradition that binds you all. I did have a laugh at the idea of a separate shed! (But actually that is way wiser than having bunches of stuff thrown this way and that way in a basement.)

Enjoy every minute! You create happiness for you and your family, which is always a good thing.

Judy Stone-Goldman
The Reflective Writer
Personal-Professional Balance Through Writing

Unknown said...

Love looking at other people's decorations but we don't do much ourselves. Apartment living isn't very conducive to lights and penguins. Ha! A couple of stockings for the dogs is about the extent of it for us. I do love that it makes you and your family so happy. I have all those memories from childhood and they are priceless.

bill austin howe

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Bill, You made me laugh with the visual of blow up penguins at the apartment! I love that you do stockings for the dogs -- that's so sweet and I'm sure they love whatever little treat Santa brings them. :-)

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Judy, The decorations used to be in our attic and it was not easy to haul dozens of boxes down the ladder. The shed is sooo much easier! We also love to drive around to look at lights. It's fun to make some hot chocolate and go on a tour. If you're down this way, please feel free to drive by and stop in. :-)

Sherryl Perry said...

I absolutely love decorating our house and yard for the holidays. I finally finished decorating outside yesterday and am anxiously waiting for my daughter to help me hang the last of the ornaments. My husband used to help me with decorating but now that I work full time from home (and he is on a horrible shift), the task is all mine. I've always decorated the window boxes, gazebo and arbor in white lights. This year, I added a Christmas tree in the gazebo with colored lights. Then of course, I had to add a few colored lights to a trellis. I think I'd love your decorations!

Heidi Alberti & Atticus Uncensored said...

Ah... your house looks beautiful & inviting! I want to see pics of the indoor decorations too -- I bet it looks great!

My house is very small, so I just do a small tree. but in my mom's neighborhood (granite bay) everyone lines the street, driveways & walkways with luminaries (white bags w/candles) on Christmas Eve & it's gorgeous! people come from all over to slowly (and with their headlights off) cruise the neighborhood. You would love it Trish! (hey, if you want to take a 30 minute drive, you could see it too :) )

Heidi & Atticus
"commentary to give you paws..."

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Heidi, Your mom's neighborhood sounds lovely. We do try to squeeze in driving around looking at lights at some point in December. I love seeing how people decorate their homes! You can come over to see our house any time, Heidi. On second thought, let me get a few more deocrations up first. :-)

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Sherryl, Yay! A kindred spirit! I love changing it up a bit each year just to have some variety. I'll bet your house looks fantastic. You're way ahead of me -- I have to get working on the inside this weekend and add a few more candy canes & lights to the outside. It's not Christmas unless I blow a fuse. LOL! ;-)

June Sockol said...

I love all the decorations! We are lucky enough to live on a court (9 houses) that do things together. It's a race after Thanksgiving to see which house will get their lights up first. Driving home last night it was great to see all 9 houses with the decorations up and turned on!

My husband is jewish so it's fun to watch him get into some Christmas spirit. He really loves to decorate the outside of the house. Sometimes I'm not always sure if it's the holiday spirit or competition with the neighbors! lol

Unknown said...

Wow, Trish and you're not even done yet? Wow. I don't have the patience for a full decoration of the yard. The most I've done is hang the icicle Christmas lights along the front of the house. I really love Christmas myself. I think it's because it makes me feel like a kid again. The tradition we had in our family growing up was staying up on Christmas eve til 12am and open presents. Yep, we didn't have to wait til Christmas morning. :)

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Dennis, I can't believe your parents let you stay up to open presents at midnight! How fun, though (and smart on their part -- they got to sleep in on Christmas morning!). I'm curious, how did they explain Santa? :-)