Last week we got ourselves a tree. Since we live up in the French alpes – surrounded by forests on virtually every side – we got our tree in the manner that you would expect – we drove to IKEA and bought it. (seriously – they were €20 – and if you bring it back to be mulched after, they give you €19 back!)
It seems strange to have a tree that’s actually shaped like a tree – instead of one that’s been groomed to be shaped perfectly like an artificial-tree-triangle like we’ve grown accustomed to over the past nummer of years.
We bought a set of lights – and a few ornaments – and put up the decorations that the kids made at school. The amazing thing is that the kids didn’t mention anything about “the other decorations” or seem to notice that anything was that strange. The only thing that seemed to matter was that we looked back over old pictures to see whose year it was to put the star on the top. (I am only going to be strong enough to keep up this tradition for so many years!)
In some ways we have really enjoyed this Christmas as it has seemed to be a really good opportunity to reset our expectations as a family for what the season really is about. Not once have we been in a mall playing holiday songs as there are thousands of people spending piles of cash on presents for others merely because it’s what is expected. We haven’t had any busyness of events, parties, pageants, etc. The school our kids go to had a small Christmas celebration last week. As it’s a Catholic school, it was in the village church – and it was really a service more than a play or a performance.
One of the goals we had in moving over here was for our family to be able to be able to draw closer together and to refocus on the things that we think are important – and our experience of the Christmas season so far has been just that.