A New Look for our Christmas Tree!

beej decorating the treeOne of my favorite traditions is decorating the Christmas tree. Over the years my children and husband have been part of that tradition, sometimes more involved, sometimes not. Okay, so my husband sets up the tree and puts on the lights and he considers his job done. Since the big kids began college and aren’t home until days before the holiday, that leaves me and the little kids to do the job.

As you can imagine, young children and Christmas trees get along almost as well as Christmas trees and cats! Over the years we have adapted our decorating to accommodate the younger members of our family. For the most part, our tree and ornaments have survived. That is, until four year old Beej was old enough to reach the tree.

My mother recently asked me how my tree managed to survive all these years and children until now. I told her that none of those kids were little Beej! beej under the tree

Within an hour of the lights being added to the tree, Beej decided that they needed some minor tweaks. Somehow he ended up wrapped up in the lights himself! I’m sure he couldn’t resist the magical feeling of being surrounded by twinkling lights!

He meticulously placed each ornament so I have to believe that there is some secret four year olds logic to the large number of ornaments hung facing the tree. Maybe there’s something special hiding in the center of the tree? And the big gaping holes where there are no ornaments? Are those branches in trouble? Did they do something to offend Beej? When I point them out, he pointedly ignores the huge empty spots and places a second or third ornament on a nearby occupied branch.

Other ornaments do not receive the honor of making it on to the tree. Or maybe they hold another special distinction because I never know where I’m going to find them!


glitter duck ornament

This sparkly duck ended up in the pizza making department after I explained to Beej that although he is a duck, he is covered with glitter so the bath tub is not the place for him! Beej countered with his own logic that the duck did not have wheels, therefore water was the only place for him!! 

Poor Bert looks very lost and confused about he how ended up on the kitchen counter. And this sweet little Muppet found herself abandoned on the chair with an arm broken when Beej fumbled while trying to see if she could stand on her own.

It did not take me long to realize that I had two options- 1. Spend the entire holiday season being the Christmas tree police, or 2. Decorate the tree with unbreakable ornaments and pack away the precious heirlooms.

Knowing how easy it is to make an indelible memory in the mind of four year old, I chose option 2. I would rather have Beej (and any other grandkids to come) remember that I let them truly enjoy the tree, than have my nagging voice ringing through his head for the rest of his life! Thank goodness Target seems to carry an endless selection of $3 kid-friendly ornaments!

And on the plus side, just imagine how precious those older ornaments are going to be to us when we pull them out in a few years, after having them safely tucked away!

Sunday Stills- Traditions

Ragtag Daily Prompt- Fumble

Fandango’s One Word Challenge- Magical

Photo a Day- Start with a C

Happy Holidays!


Approaching the Sea of Swirly Twirly Gumdrops


I love the movie, Elf, starring Will Ferrell, James Caan and Zooey Deschanel. It was released in 2003 and my kids were at the perfect ages- 13, 10, and 8- for this movie. They had grown too old for the classics- Rudolph and Frosty- but I have high standards for what I deem quality Christmas viewing and nothing was making the grade.

And then Elf came out.

It was an immediate with the entire family and made its place on our favorites list after one viewing.

And it arrived at the perfect time. It renewed my love of Christmas. I love everything about this movie and so do my kids. Just recently, Andrew texted me that he was going “through the Lincoln Tunnel” and that launched an exchange that made me smile all day.

There was another time when that same quote saved us during a stressful time. Andrew and I were driving to New York City to visit music schools. It was our first time there and we were driving in NYC during rush hour and as the sun was at that dangerous level where it’s peeking just under the visor, blinding you. I have driven in downtown Chicago for 30 years so I have experience with big city driving but this was extreme! As I was swearing and ranting, getting beeped at by cars and yelled at by pedestrians, I was seconds away from stopping the car, getting out and walking away- right in the middle of Times Square- which was nowhere near where we were supposed to be! I can only imagine what thoughts were going through Andrew’s head, besides dreading spending the rest of the week with me. In his quiet steady voice he said, “Maybe next time we should come in through the Lincoln Tunnel.”

That was all I needed. It diverted my attention from the chaos outside the car and we started listing out all the places that Buddy visited in the movie, discussing which ones we might get to see.

I wrote about an experience I had last year, which always brings a smile to my face when I think about it in the post- I’m Singing

Seven year old C.J. loves the movie and has been asking to watch it since June. Because he’s growing up in an era of instant gratification, I’ve told him that Elf is a movie that is only to be viewed at Christmas time. After Thanksgiving last week, I asked him if he knew what holiday was coming next and of course, he knew. “Do you know what movie we can watch now?” I asked.

His face split into the widest grin and he nodded. “I wonder if Beej will like it!” His little brother just turned two years old. I smiled back, “I’m sure he will.”

As a parent…..as a mom, this time of year is especially exhausting. The pace is frenzied. There is so much going on. Decorating, shopping, Santa, baking, social functions, relatives…. it’s a lot. (And as an introvert, well, I’m not even going there!) But taking the time to slow down and sit with my family, laughing at the same things we are entertained by every year (“I just like to smile. Smiling’s my favorite.”) is a priceless tradition. It fills my heart and soul and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

There is a part of me that is taking deep breaths and trying to mentally prepare myself. The seven levels of the Candy Cane Forest weren’t too bad but you know what’s next, right?

“Buddy the Elf. What’s your favorite color?”

“You sit on a throne of lies.”

“Francisco. That’s fun to say. Francisco.”

“Deb, you have such a pretty face you should be on a Christmas card.”

“I’m sorry I ruined your lives and crammed eleven cookies into the VCR.”

“I’m singing. I’m in a store and I’m singing.” 

There are so many more quotes I could share but I’ll stop here.

Do you have a favorite Elf quote?