Saturday, December 6, 2008
Pirates Evidently DO Decorate Christmas Trees
Today we purchased and decorated our Christmas tree. This is a much-anticipated event in the Seymour household, with much of the ritual having been passed down from my (Morlan) side of the family. Ever since I was a kid, but I'm pretty sure starting when my parents were first married, we would decorate our Christmas tree in the evening while enjoying a sumptuous buffet feast. This is really the only time I recall my parents condoning the consumption of chips and dip (we're talking salty potato chips and sour cream and onion dip - does it get any more decadent?), and Sara and I positively lived for that menu item. (We Morlans take our food very seriously. Typical breakfast conversations revolve around the topic of what we're going to eat for dinner.) The more gourmet members participating in the tree trimming also enjoyed offerings like smoked salmon and champagne, while the kids got sparkling cider. And while he used to come in handy when it came time to put the angel on top of the tree, I primarily remember my dad sitting on the couch to "supervise" while the rest of us did the decorating. Of course, we all reminisced as each ornament made its way out of storage.
Tim and I continued this tradition when we married, merging two collections of childhood ornaments and starting our own. It was always a lovely evening, but I must say it's even better now that we have kids. I wasn't sure what to expect from them on a participatory level, either. We were able to stave off most of their impatience while we did the lights by setting them up with play-doh, but by the time the lights were finished they were more than ready to hang some ornaments. Clare gamely wore one of the Santa hats I picked up at the store. Danny, however, only wore his long enough to say, "Ho! Ho! Ho!" before tearing it off and replacing it with his pirate eye patch.
Fortunately there was no mutiny against the tree. In fact, far from it. Both kids remained dedicated to hanging ornaments, with Clare ceaselessly calling out, "Mommy, look at this! Do you remember this one?" and Danny proclaiming each ornament "Gorgeous! It's my favorite!" They were happy to take a food break, but returned to the tree much more quickly than Tim or I. (No, there were no chips and dip, but there was brie.) And when Tim eventually sat on the couch and said he would supervise, the whole evening came full circle for me.
When the trimming was finished and we had admired our work, I sat on the couch with the kids and read a couple of Christmas stories. Clare eventually moseyed off to prance around with her own book in hand, but Danny stayed with me. As cozy as it was, the evening was getting late, so I announced last call, expecting one more seasonal tale. Not so much. Instead Danny chose, with great glee, Pirates Don't Change Diapers. And so we ended our beloved annual ritual with me growling in my best pirate voice. Definitely a first - but I must admit, sometimes it's fun to tweak tradition.