Each year as we enter the holiday season we all look to past and present traditions to continue in our home. Some traditions we take from our parents and our childhoods – and some we create without planning. These are the meaningful moments that stay with us each year.

One tradition we have in our home is to decorate our house for Christmas on Thanksgiving night. Once the turkey is done and the desserts put away, we send the kids to bed and head to the basement to pull out the Christmas bins. When our boys wake up the next morning, it is Christmas in our house. This tradition stems from our first Thanksgiving as a married couple: I was pregnant and almost due with our first child and I┬ásaid to my husband: “we’re decorating tonight or it’s never going to get done.”

How fun this year to have my children old enough to help – to stay up past 8 o’clock and adjust our tradition to include our children. The evening concluded with a sweet story involving my six-year-old:

When we were settled on the couch, he gleefully got a piece of paper and a pen – and asked each of us to write down one thing we really want for Christmas. Afterwards he looked a little sad…I asked him what was wrong and he said, “But I don’t think I have enough money to buy what everyone wants…”
He was genuinely upset that the $11 in his piggy bank was not enough to purchase his brother an iPod Touch (FYI: Santa is not purchasing his brother an iPod Touch either!) Yet in his disappointment, I found pure joy. He got it. He understood the gift of giving. I tried to comfort him by giving him a hug and saying, “Edward, you are the spirit of Christmas!”

This year’s Thanksgiving tradition of decorating for Christmas gave me the greatest gift of the season: seeing in my children the greatest gift I can pass along to them: doing for others.