I never really put much stock in ‘traditions’ when I was younger. Probably because I never really knew what they were. It must have been sometime during my first or second year of uni that I realised there were just certain… ‘things’ that we would do as a family. There were small things at first, especially to do with communication. Which made sense, seeing as I was away from home. But other things got more obvious too.
This year I’ve noticed even more about our traditions, and yet this seems to be the year that I keep breaking them. The biggest one was a double whammy for me, which is ironic since it was related to my two decades worth of life.
For the first time in my life, I celebrated my birthday somewhere other than in the home I grew up in. Now, this didn’t detract from the experience in the slightest, but thinking back on it now is a little… odd. I mean, let’s be honest here- that kind of thing was inevitable. But there was something about celebrating twenty years of living away from my childhood home that struck me as – dare I say it? – almost bittersweet. That’s another step away and one step towards. Childhood and adulthood? The past and the future? The rest of my life? Regardless of what it is, there’s no time like the present to keep moving forward. I’ll dwell on it later when I’m reminiscing.
But seeing as “it’s that time of year when the world falls in love” and celebrates (if not the day itself) the spirit of Christmas and giving, I’ve come across another tradition that I hardly noticed we had: trimming the tree.
In recent years, as I’ve started to become more aware of the dates of things, I’ve realised that as soon as it hits December 1, my family begins Christmas. As soon as I wake up, Christmas carols are playing. We pick the theme colour for the year (green for 2018, if you must know; and what a perfectly wonderful rhyme), get the tree out from where it hides for most of the year, and I trim the tree. It’s probably no different to any other household, really, but I love that moment when December 1 comes. The anticipation begins, not just for gifts anymore, but for that season of joy, laughter and giving.
This year, I wasn’t home on December 1.
The day before I headed back home, I was at work (sidenote: I’m a swim instructor). One of the kids asked me, “Have you put up your Christmas tree yet?”. In that split second, I wasn’t an instructor, or a uni student; I was a child again.
“Uh, no, we haven’t, actually…” I said.
Because it’s meant to be my job. I wanted to say.
That was two days ago.
Today, I finished trimming the tree. It’s 12 days late, but I finally did it. My first Christmas ‘job’ is done. As I write this, I’m watching the lights in our window flicker their colours. I’m just remembering that I still have to out up our belen (our Nativity scene). And I’m glancing at our Christmas tree, decked with green baubles, wondering whether there’s too many baubles (or not enough).