This tradition has stood the test of time. These photos were taken in 2008 - two boys jammed into our Christmas tree box, their arms in the air in an homage to their cousins for teaching them how to ride the rollercoasters that summer at Hershey Park. I laugh at the things they choose to remember. I'm just glad I'm learning to watch for the things they choose to love.
Our traditions aren't necessarily the ones I envisioned. Decorating for Christmas doesn't revolve around a background of Christmas music and cookies baking in the oven. You are much more likely to hear a hockey game coming from the tv, and smell chili cooking on the stove.
But the box has stood the test of time, thanks to the genius of Grandma. Flash back to the year 2002/2003. As we went about setting up our tree for the first time, Nolan either 2 or 3 at the time, kept climbing in the box. He rattled on and on about Grandma and something about the box. We tried to distract him. But then he'd start unwrapping the glass ornaments. While we snatched ornaments out of his busy little hands and put them out of reach, he headed for the lights, managing to tangle himself in the strands. We repeatedly tried to discourage him from undoing our efforts while including him in the process. This was not the vision of "Christmas decorating" that I had in my head!
We were also fairly focused on figuring out how this tree went together. Our frustration grew. Nolan persisted, raising his voice now to get our attention, "Thats NOT how Grandma does it." he insisted. I remember thinking, great, now my two year old is giving me tree decorating advice! Finally, I called for reinforcements. Grandma laughed when she heard the exasperation in my voice. She teased me with "why, he was just as content as could be at my house when we put up OUR tree!" "Fine," I said. "Raise the white flag, I surrender. Just please come help."
Want to know what her secret was? She grabbed a marker and got busy with the tree box. She helped Nolan draw the steering wheel and the levers. Next they got to work on the pedals. Voila. Through the magic of Grandma, one tree box transformed into a two year old dream car. I bet he sat in there for the next 30 minutes straight, which in toddler time is extremely long. It was awesome! Mother always does know best. Without her thinking "out of the box", we would have missed the magic of "inside the box."
Christmas decorating 2010
I have no doubt one day there will be two grown men trying to jam their extra long legs into a ratty old tree box. Its one tradition I hope never dies.
What is your favorite Christmas tradition?