She helped me decorate the living room and put the lights up on my tree. It went so much faster with two people doing it! I have done the lights by myself for many years now and it always takes me way too long.
We ended up going shopping and I bought a few new nativities because I had some extra horizontal space for Christmas decor now that I have the bookshelf in the dining area rather than the big computer cabinet that was there for so long. I might have been a bad influence on her causing her to buy one for herself as well.
(Luckily all the Christmas items are 50% off at Hobby Lobby.)
I might have gone a bit overboard but I love each and every one of them.
Then after she left I put on Christmas music and began to decorate the tree.
The music somehow felt melancholy to me as I decorated the tree and reminisced about each ornament.
Let's be honest, it has been many years since I had anyone in the house who really wanted to help decorate the tree...
oh, the boys would humor me for a bit but no one was really into it
and I usually ended up doing a lot of it myself.
This year, all the kids are gone and so I just did it myself
without needing to make it a "family activity"
I have some pretty ornaments from the second tree that I used to have in Massachusetts
but I chose to decorate the tree with the old tried and true family ornaments.
Ornaments from places we've lived
Ornaments from vacations
Ornaments made for me by good friends
All the "baby's first Christmas" ornaments
this one is Austin's
Ornaments made by my kids
Isn't that a gorgeous clay snowman? :-)
Ornaments that are broken from the year our tree fell over. But I still hang them because I love them.
My one legged Santa
My snowman without a nose
This mailbox that is completely falling apart. But it has a story behind it and I love it.
It will be on my tree as long as possible.
Ornaments that are so heavy that they have to be hung near the trunk.
I always wonder what I was thinking buying these super heavy ornaments.
This bear is SUPER heavy. He is always stuck hiding inside the tree.
Ornaments made by my grandchildren
And of course the all important moose
I thought the moose was missing for most of the evening and I was feeling awfully sad about it...
but it turned out to be in the bottom of the box.
I was so relieved!
I still don't have a star or angel for the top of my tree.
This year I just might search until I find out as I've been without for a number of years now and I never really know what to do with the top of the tree.
Of course the moose is always near the top.
This year, since my tree is so crooked (because I am no awesome with a drill) that I felt like I had to chop some of the top off because it made the crookedness more obvious.
Then I stuck some Christmas picks in the top.
It works ok.
I try to get a new ornament each year that kind of symbolizes the year for me.
This year I got a globe.
It's pretty obvious why I chose it... this is the year that my kids are literally all over the world:
Alaska, England, Japan
It will be a new and unusual kind of Christmas for us this year.
But I am super excited for Branden and Amber to have some family up in Alaska with them
and for Austin to be with Katy and her family
and for Carter to be serving his mission.
So, it's all good.