Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Out of the box...

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?  


  1. What is it about boxes...they have always been loved by our kids too! They ought to be sold in kids toy catalogs..they would be a big hit! ;D

  2. Really the most favorite tradition of all is opening those gifts on Christmas morning with christmas music blaring and breakfast baking.

    The boxes were always a hit with my kids when they were little... as they grew older, not so much.

  3. Kids and boxes are a win-win situation.

    Hanging stockings on Christmas morning is still my favorite tradition.

  4. This is the sweetest of traditions!
    Our tradition would be me decorating and one or more of the men of the house would be yelling, "Higher, lower, left, right."

  5. Oh that is so sweet. I think there is something magical about a cardboard box.

    Hmm favorite tradition...I think going to cut our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving at the local tree farm about two miles from our home, is one of my favorite things. Although, this year we were a couple days late because my guys were gone hunting over Thanksgiving.

  6. What a fun tradition! I'm sure this is one that they will pass on to their kids!

    My favorite tradition is watching the classic Christmas shows like Rudolph. It's fun watching my son enjoy the shows that I loved as a kid. :)

  7. Bless your Mama's sweet heart!!
    Boxes have and always be THE most fun for children....(and kitty cats.) Our cat Sammie would rather jump in and out of a paper sack and/or a box than play with any toy from PetSmart!
    I love this blog. It brings back sooo many memories...and you write with the wit and wisdom of a Mother who smiles inside and outside.
    Our favorite tradition: throwing all the Christmas paper in the middle of the floor and NOT picking any of it up until everything is unwrapped on Christmas morning. (That's not MY favorite...as as matter of fact, I cringe at it every year,) but our daughter has always wanted the paper to be there...to play in...to look at....and so to this day, it stays there (as I cringe.)
    She's 29....and she will be here Christmas morning...expecting all the wrapping paper to be piled (and left) in the middle of the living room floor at the end of "the opening." :))))

  8. My boys flock to boxes!! Those are great pictures Vicky. Your boys know how to have fun. My favorite Christmas tradition is putting up the tree. I need to get started. I love your blog layout - so festive.

  9. Such a lovely and caring post, Vicky !!!!!.
    One of the most lasting Christmas traditions you can bestow upon your children is a love for special Christmas Tree decorations in a box of their own choice and of their own.
    We can't even think of what our grand parents instantly used to perceive about the psychology of a 1-3 years old child.Only your grandma could have converted these tragics of "out of the box" into the magics of "inside the box".
    Both of them would outgrow the magics of this box in due time but the sweet memories of it will always remain within the confines of this beautiful box.
    I liked and enjoyed the unique magic out there in your post with beautiful pics in order testifying the sheer truth of this magic.

    Regards and love,
    Dr. Yadav.

  10. I love your tradition because it is unique. There the best tradition and a photo every year of your boys in the tree box shows how they have gown over time. It's a beautiful memory for your family to treasure.

  11. This brought tears to my eyes, Vicky...remembering how I used to do those kinds of things with my son...but no more cardboard cards...This year we start Driver's Ed, and I may be crying for altogether different reasons...LOL...You've been in my thoughts, and I wanted to say, "Love you!" And so here I am! ~Janine XO


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