TJ's family had a tradition of cutting down their Christmas tree every year the Saturday after Thanksgiving. They went to the same tree farm every year. When I met him, we continued that tradition. We took our family picture in front of the same red caboose at the same tree farm where TJ went every year of his life. Sadly, that tree farm closed down last year, so we had to find a new place to keep the tradition going for our children.
This season is filled with tradition. From that first Sunday of Advent to the last of the Twelve Days of Christmas, I'm aware of the fact that everything we do is making a memory for our children. However, I've learned over the years that they will not listen carefully to every bible verse read as we put our Jesse tree ornament on the tree. They will fall asleep as I read Jothem's Journey at night or we will even miss reading it for an entire week. They would rather play with neighbors than make Christmas cookies. We may not make it to the tree farm the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The tree will be decorated with their ornaments and then un-decorated by the three and five year old. (only to be found later in a pile stashed behind the chair.) They will argue who's turn it is to light the advent wreath. We will miss three days in a row of putting the Jesse tree ornament up. But my motherly wisdom, which I am gaining each day, allows me to not fret and worry. I know that my children will remember the feel of advent celebrated in our home and the anticipation and celebration of Christmas. I pray they will hold onto and hopefully continue some of them when they are adults with families of their own.