The very day after Thanksgiving I always look around my house and suddenly all the Fall stuff seems completely irrelevant and out of place. How does that even happen? I'm writing this post the day after Thanksgiving. Yesterday, I was nostalgic about the pumpkins, hayrides and apple cider and can't breathe all of it in enough and today I'm like- give me sleigh bells, peppermint ice cream and snow! Don't get me wrong- I absolutely, unequivocally, love fall and everything that goes with it, check out my post on Must Try Fall Palettes if you don't believe me. And while every year I say I'll give myself a little break after Thanksgiving and wait a few days to get the Christmas decor out, every year I know it's a big, fat, lie. Because as sure as the day is long, I get up the friday after Thanksgiving and in comes the empty fall decor boxes along with many of the yet-to-be-emptied Christmas boxes from the garage and for about a week (if I'm being honest) I'll have boxes in several of my main rooms cluttering up the space and looking like a bomb went off. For a hot second I considered doing a time lapse of me decorating a tree or my living room or something like we are seeing all over instagram but I'm pretty sure it would just be me tripping over a bunch of stuff in my living room and no one wants to see that!
Without a doubt, the first decor that has always gone up in our house is my Dickens Christmas Villages. It's the first item up, and the last taken down because it is by far the most time consuming thing I do- usually about 9 hours when all is said and done. (and that's after many years of streamlining the process!) About 10 years ago, I got the brilliant (?) idea of installing them on top of our 10' tall entertainment center in our living room. The best part at the time was that it was out of the way of little hands that grab and it added some holiday bling in what I thought a pretty cool place. Well, of course the interior designer/stylist in me can't simply just throw them all up there. I must have different levels! I must have trees of varying sizes filling in the gaps! I must have lighted garland to frame it! I must have a realistic story line around why I put the little homes, churches and shops in a certain order! And with every must have it means more 'must gos' up and down the ladder. (I'm rolling my eyes at myself right now, simultaneously knowing that for me there's no other way) Every year I intend on counting the amount of times I go up and down the ladder, but I usually forget by about time number 3 because I'm too lost in the process.
I collected the villages when my kids were young and we are now at the point that a few of my young adult kids are mortified if I even suggest not putting them out because it was so much a part of their growing up memories. So without intending it, the Village has apparently become our families #1 non-negotiable Christmas tradition. I do believe my family would pick that over a tree. Really. True fact: last year one of them asked if they could get the Village in their inheritance and this year he reiterated it to me again- in case I forgot I guess. It had to make me smile because a) his future wife will have to be on board with that, b) none of our kids have ever asked to inherit anything- let alone the village of all things?! and especially, c) how old does he want to be when he inherits them, how old does he think I am, and does he know something I don't?
So while I used to do it more for myself, I now do it for my kids. In fact the last couple of years my 'babies' (almost 20 year old twin boys) have helped me by hauling back and forth from the garage and helping unload the 7 bins of villages, trees, styrofoam and fabric that makes up our 'cozy little' scene. This has probably cut install time down to about 7 hours (Yay!).
Did we get our village up the day after Thanksgiving this year? Why, yes we did- of course we did, despite myself! I sit here in my chair, the eve after Thanksgiving, writing this post with a beautifully lit up village crowning my entertainment center, illuminated with a town I'd love to live in (plus a ladder and 3 large bins in the living room still waiting to be put away). It will hold its rightful space until just after New Year's, and will be the last thing I take down. I'm not sure how many more years I'll be willing to go up and down that ladder, but as long as some of my kids express interest (and are willing to help) I'll most likely still do it.
So in the spirit of this past season of gratitude, I'm so thankful for another year to learn. Another year to grow. And another year to get my kids to help me with what they think may be the mundane, but I have the feeling they truly grasp, as the necessary.
Your turn! Do you have one, non-negotiable Christmas tradition that you do? No matter what- must happen every year? Let us know in the comments!