On December 3rd, Seth came over to spend the night. While he was here, Maggie and Sophie came over to take mini ornaments and treats out of the advent cabinet. Even though Leslie bought the cabinet for me years ago, I have never used the cabinet before because Seth hasn't lived close enough to come over every day to open a drawer and hang ornaments. Now that Maggie and Sophie live so close, I decided to fill the drawers of the cabinet with tiny ornaments and pieces of candy so that they could come up each day and take their surprise out. We had already added several ornaments to the mini tree by the time Seth came over, so I had to explain the process to him. I knew he would be visiting from time to time, so I already had 3 of everything in each drawer. On the days he isn't here, Maggie puts Seth's on the tree. As Seth helped put the ornaments on the tree and said, "Gee Mimi. You have a lot of trees!" I asked what he meant and he said, "Well, you have this tree, the one in the dining room, and the one by the door. Mom only put up 1 tree. How come you have 3?" So, I had to explain the three trees.
The first is our mini advent tree, which I had just explained to him. The cabinet was sold at Mervyns and Leslie got it when she worked there while she was in college. It is really adorable and I should have taken a picture of it with the doors open. There are 25 little drawers inside that are perfect for hiding candy and ornaments.
I then told Seth that the second tree is actually for Ryan and Scott. I explained that when the children were growing up, my mother and father gave each one of them an unusual ornament for Christmas. By the time they were grown, each of them had quite a collection of ornaments. When Becca and Leslie moved out, I gave them each their own box of ornaments. That left only Ryan and Scott's ornaments. Those ornaments now hang on a 5 ft. tree that sits in the corner of our dining room because they never put up a Christmas tree. When they finally settle down into homes of their own, they will get their ornaments.
I then explained the third tree; my tree. You see, once the girls' ornaments were gone, our family tree was pretty naked. For Christmas one year after the girls had moved out, I told Ron I wanted to buy my own Christmas tree and new ornaments as my present that year. I decided on a red and gold theme and have added some new ornaments each year. I don't like bows, garlands, ribbons, or tinsel. I usually keep the lights off unless it is evening, because I just like the way it looks when it is unlit. My favorite ornaments are the small, hand carved Santa heads that my father made a few years ago. He actually made them for the kids, but these will stay on my tree until I am gone. Then the kids can fight over them.
After I explained why we have 3 trees, Seth thought for a while and said, "That's cool!" It made me realize that there are often things I do each holiday that I never explain to the grandkids. I know that my children understand our little traditions, but I never actually explained things to Seth. Now that he is older, and Maggie is quickly catching up with him I need to do a better job of talking about the simple things we do as a family. Hopefully, these little things will become part of each of their lives.
Later that evening while Seth and I were watching television, I told him that I actually have a 4th tree that I forgot to tell him about. When he asked me where it was, I told him about the one in my classroom. It holds the many ornaments that I have been given throughout the years I have been teaching. It doesn't really mean as much to me as the ones at home, but it is amazing how much joy that tree brings into the lives of my "other" babies.