Decorating the Christmas tree is a pretty big event in our house and is something that everyone looks forward too. Lacy, Tekle, and Aaron were probably the most enthusiastic and had been talking about it all week. Although, I won't pretend that us older kids weren't excited too--when I asked Jesse if he was coming he looked at me like "duh", and said that of course he would be there.
One of the best things about coming home in our house, is that you get a really loving greeting every time you walk in the door. When Peter and Jesse showed up they hadn't even made it up the stairs when Tekle yelled "PETER AND JESSE ARE HERE!"...seconds later they were both swarmed with kids who were thrilled to see them.
The night began with a bunch of "party food" that my dad had made which we washed down with 2 bottles of sparkling lingonberry juice. Once we had all had our fill of caramel apples and pizza, we began to unpack the zillions of cardboard boxes filled with decorations. A lot of our ornaments were arts & craft projects over the years--imagine a school picture taped on a star made of popsicle sticks--and it's fun to be able to say things like "Look Aaron, here's a picture of Isaac when he was 3 just like you!" Other ornaments bring back memories, like the gold wreath with Tekle's picture in it that we hung the year we were waiting for him to come home.
And of course, you can't have a Christmas tree decorating party without Christmas music! Peter, Jesse, and I all have the same favorite Christmas song--the Mariah Carey version of "All I Want for Christmas is You" (no other version is acceptable). Ok, I know it doesn't exactly mention Jesus or the real meaning of Christmas but we love it! After playing it about 6 times, everyone else was starting to get annoyed with us. Of course, as a big sister my job is to enjoy annoying my siblings so I dramatically told Tekle that the intro of the song just "melts my heart!". He replied very matter-of-factly:
"Kels. If your heart melts, JESUS melts."
I guess he got me there...
As we finished hanging up the last few ornaments, the usual argument of who gets to put the angel on top arose. We try to rotate by age each year but as new members join our family, and people can't remember the last time it was their turn (theoretically, it should have been 7 years since the person putting the angel on top has last had a turn), we get a little confused. By process of elimination we came to the conclusion that it was Isaac's turn. I think we were at least close to being right...
Once that was all figured out, we turned out the main lights, ooohed and ahhed over the fully decorated tree, and then sat down around the living room to watch "Claymations" together. It's a yearly tradition, and before each scene starts there's usually a chorus of "Oh I LOVE this one!" or "This one is so funny!", or "Haha the skating walruses are like Mom and Dad!".
I can't think of a better way to begin the Christmas season!