When Birch and I first got married a year and a half ago, we weren't sure what new traditions lay in store for us. Each family makes their own traditions and adopts some old ones as well. Christmas has always been a big deal in my family. My parents go all out every year, putting money away in a separate account purely for gifts and when December rolls around my mom hauls out box after box of decorations. She takes down my dad's fossils and the various artifacts from Scandinavia and Central America (a seemingly random combination, but really very telling) and carefully places them all in boxes to be replaced with creche after creche, a macrame Santa face, a felt Advent calendar, and tree ornaments obtained year after year from Germany, Guatemala, Norway, Peru, Costco, Grandma, Denmark, and who knows where else. Come Christmas day and the entire living room is filled with presents for all of my parent's six children and all of their grandchildren as well. It is a sight to behold.
Though Birch and I have not mastered the extreme Christmas organization that my mom displays every year, we did manage to start and organize one Christmas tradition which will hopefully last for many years to come. We love to garden. We love plants and although we both display moments of impatience with watching things grow and come into their own, we love to create a natural setting with flowers and yummy things to eat. This fascination led to our first Christmas tradition: the acquisition of any kind of living tree or bush that would first be decorated and kept inside, then moved outside, planted, and allowed to grow. Our first Christmas, we bought a Redtwig Dogwood. Being December, it was in its dormant stage, providing lots of empty space for ornaments. Starting around August or September, I began picking up ornaments wherever I found them. Birch laughed at me, but I think that it was his first real introduction to my somewhat obsessive decorative side which he has come to know and love. This year, we searched for a gardenia or a Japanese Maple, but were disappointed by the choices available at the nurseries so we went with a Yellowtwig Dogwood. (Note: there were no Redtwig Dogwoods to be found. I guess the nurseries shifted color trends. Did you know that they actually follow the fashion world to know what colors are going to be fashionable the following year? Learned that in a horticulture class when a high-up employee of Monrovia came to talk to our class. Remember a year or two ago when chartreuse and purplish-brown plants were everywhere? Very interesting.)
We moved last July to a place with a sizable yard (especially for an apartment in the Bay Area) and we've been transforming it every since. Both dogwoods now reside outside on either side of a small fence Birch built for some pea and bean plants.
Due to the whole, you know, baby thing, Birch and I decided that we'd keep our actual Christmas-gift-giving for after Keats is born. This was mostly decided based on budgetary needs, but all-in-all I think it will be nice to include him in the festivities. Perhaps I'll put an ornament back on the tree outside, perhaps not, but either way our small family's real Christmas is coming late this year. Personally, I'm angling for a beautifully knit wrap from Hipknotz on Etsy (pictured above, can be found here: www.etsy.com/shop/hipknotz). Birch has yet to make his true desires known on the subject. I think his mind is just a wee bit preoccupied these days as he spent his entire week-long break fixing and setting up things around the apartment and murmuring about IEPs and sub plans. I've made it my goal for the next month to be extra super patient with him as his constant need to be getting things done proved stressful for me (mostly because I can't really help in any meaningful way). So, what to get Birch for Christmas? And his birthday? It's two days after Keats' due date and although I know Birch is hoping against hope that this means I'll just forget his birthday for the rest of his life, he's in for a big surprise. I have no intention of just letting his birthday fly by unnoticed. So, any ideas on what to give a man that's not really into stuff, is having his first child, and is the best husband a woman could hope for?
So we'll be having Christmas in April. We're happy with our little tradition. It's fun and somewhat different. The place doesn't smell like pine which is unfortunate (perhaps the addition of creating a wreath would suffice Birch's desire for said scent), but we like that we get to keep our tree forever and always instead of chopping it up for compost and mulch.
And yes, I'm already thinking of what I'd like to get for Christmas 2010...