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Monday, December 09, 2013

Our very first Christmas tree!

Ever since we met six years ago, Alex and I have talked about getting a Christmas tree for about three minutes in December, and then decided against it. We go to California for the holidays every year, so buying a tree in New York first felt sort of unnecessary. But now that Toby is three—and totally into all things Christmas—we wanted to get a tree for him to decorate and start some family rituals.
So one night last week, after the boys were in bed, Alex snuck out and got a tree from a stand down our block. It was the perfect Goldilocks size: Not too big and not too little. When Toby woke up the next morning, we told him we had a surprise in the living room, and he walked out slowly and completely awestruck. "A tree," he whispered, eyes big as saucers.
We made a plan to decorate it together that evening, so after school, Toby and I went to CVS to buy ornaments. I told him he could pick out whatever he liked, and he chose red bulbs, plastic pinecones and a gold garland. (CVS nailed it!)
But the pièce de résistance was this "Best Teacher!" apple ornament. When we were at CVS, Toby loved it so much and carried it all around the store. I explained that it said, "Best Teacher!" and was really for teachers, and he thought it over for a moment and then asked, "But the pinecones are for boys?" I nodded. So we put the apple ornament back on the shelf, and bought the rest of the decorations. For the rest of the day, however, he kept talking dreamily about the apple ornament and how beautiful it was, so as I was putting him to bed later, I said, "Toby, even though that apple ornament said 'Best Teacher!' it was also so beautiful. Maybe we should just get it, what do you think?" And he said, with the cutest nonchalance, "Yeah, Mama, you know, maybe we should just get it." And so Alex went back to CVS the next day and brought it right home:)
So, that night, we cranked up cheesy Christmas music, and invited our two friends down from the 17th floor to drink spiked egg nog and eat pistachios.
We wrapped 300 tiny white lights around the tree...
...drank too much egg nog...
...and hung the ornaments.
Anton stayed up late (until 8pm!! rock star!!!) to be part of the festivities.
It was such a great night, and I'm excited to start traditions for our family, like always drinking egg nog and eating pistachios, and always giving the boys one special ornament each year. What other rituals and traditions do you have? (People's awesome rituals were so inspiring last year.)
Side note: Now we're just wondering what to put on top of the tree. Do you have a star? An angel? Something different?
Hurray!!! Now that we've seen how awesome it is to have a tree, WE CANNOT BELIEVE WE WAITED THIS LONG!!!! What were we thinking all those years?!!! It makes the house look so cozy, and even getting up for a glass of water in the middle of the night feels festive:) Do you have a Christmas tree? What do you celebrate this time of year? Hope you're having a really wonderful holiday season so far.
(The finished tree from this past weekend:)

(Thanks to our friends R&K for taking most of these photos)


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sarah.oblenes said...

my parents bought (still buy) all of us kids ornaments each year and now that I'm an adult, my tree is partially filled with childhood memories :) it's really nice to have all the ornaments :)
and for a tree topper, we put three starfish since we live in a coastal town!

jen said...

that is so adorable about the best teacher ornament! it just melts my heart the things kids love! getting a tree and drinking eggnog each year is one of my fave traditions. so fun!

Artaud said...

Yay! So glad you're finally doing a tree. As I was putting the lights on ours yesterday (my husband and I don't have kids), I was thinking about the rituals we had when putting up the tree when I was growing up, and it still makes me teary to think of how magical it was then. You and your boys will always be glad for your new traditions!

We don't have an angel OR a star, we have a dove! It's one of those feathered birds you find in a craft store, etc., but its so beautiful and sweet, and I love the idea of the dove of peace perched atop our tree.

Happy holidays!

Clare M said...

Just gorgeous!

Clare x

Clare M said...

Just gorgeous!

Clare x

Miss Kait said...

Such a wonderful story! We have a super geeky Enterprise decoration from Star Trek that lights up that we have used every year since we got it in 1992. Growing up, Star Trek was a big part of our childhood and we watched it with our dad every night. We were at Hallmark and saw the ornament and got it right away. Mom didn't love it so much at first, but it has become a huge part of one of our many Christmas traditions and it's grown on her over the years.

Jennifer of JennySue Makeup said...

Yay for the Christmas tree experience! I love it! And the cheesy Christmas music makes it.

Katerina said...

This is just the sweetest story. I love that you got the apple ornament in the end. Too sweet!

Rebecca said...

In my Family we always put a white dove at the top of the tree ~ a wish for Peace on Earth :)

Rene said...

As for a tree topper: I like to use a santa hat - it's different, fun and festive. I've also been on the look out for something sparkly but not too glittery for a few years now, and I finally found a beaded sliver snowflake at an after holiday sale at Dillard's this year. I've also always loved those vintage mercury glass finials. Can't wait to see pics of next year's tree :)

MipMachine said...

I love reading about your family and seeing your photos, you, your husband and kids are so beautiful. Even though you are a complete stranger to me living on the other side of the world, I completely enjoy following your life.

Eliza said...

We have this tree topper...bought it in Asheville, NC several years ago and love it. Speaks to our inner hippies :-)

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