It wasn't always this way. For most of my life with the kids we waited until the second weekend in December, and many times would travel to the North Fork to a tree farm where we would find a nice fresh tree to cut and bring home. It would last for weeks because it was so fresh and by the time we took it down it was still not dropping so many needles. Plus I loved the whole family experience of making the trip and doing a whole day. If we didn't have time for a trip north we would go to the local nursery and pick one out.
But then we were given an artificial tree a few years ago and although I had always resisted the idea I grew to love not getting a real tree. The clean up is so much easier, I don't worry so much about leaving the lights on, and it can go up as early as we want it to. And so, a new tradition was born. Now with little ones for grandchildren they love helping decorate and I love having them.
Truthfully I wasn't sure what I was going to do this year with the way my life has turned. It would be far too difficult for me to get the tree and ornaments out of our difficult-to-access attic so had the kids not offered I would not have decorated at all. But when they asked I jumped at the chance. I may not go all out this year as I have in the past in terms of decorating, but the basics will get done. I'm not in a terribly celebratory mood this Christmas, but the reason for the holiday has not changed so I still need to celebrate despite my circumstances.
It may be a lonely Christmas for me, but I'm still grateful for the baby born in Bethlehem. And that's what I'm trying hard to focus in on at this point.