I remember the first year we lived in our house. It was our first house after 6 years of apartment dwelling, and since we had more than doubled our living space, it felt a little sparse. Decorating for that first Christmas in our first house made the house feel a little fuller and a little warmer.
Eleven years later, that same house is much less sparse. In fact, Christmas decorations can make my house feel a little fuller than I prefer. Still the day we go pick out our tree, pull down the decorations from the attic and begin to put them around the house is my favorite day of the year.
I love the ritual of it. I love going to pick out a “real” tree as we have for the past 17 years. I love hanging the ornaments and recalling the memories that accompany so many of those ornaments — the ones that hold the pictures of the girls on their first Christmases, the one that we bought at Trinity college in Dublin, the ones that remind us of our long gone cats, Abi and Smudge, ones from both Bill and my childhoods. I love thinking about family memories like when I pull out my grandmother’s Christmas plates, or a decoration that is identical to one my mom has in her house.
After we had finished decorating we made a dinner of everyone’s favorite finger foods, sat on the floor of the living room in the glow of the tree, and giggled and giggled and giggled. That moment definitely made the house feel full and warm.