Christmas is a magical time of year and like many families, my family has a lot of Christmas traditions that we look forward to every year.
One of my favorite Christmas traditions is getting our home ready for the holiday by decorating!
We have so many decorations that came from different relatives so each piece is tied to an important memory which makes decorating a very special part of our Christmas Traditions!
One piece of Christmas decor that means a lot to me is this Christmas Tree that my father in law, Ray had since he was a kid.
Each year when I set it up, I get excited when I find out that it still works! Knowing that he had it since his childhood makes me nervous because I feel like one of these years the lights will not work but whenever that day comes, although it will not be as cheery, I will still display it proudly.
Ever since he passed away, seven years ago, there was a large void in my husbands family and everyone that knew Ray still feels it. He was the realest person you could know, as well as one of the wisest, coolest, and funniest. He had a great laugh and smile that everyone got to see because he always was a joy to be around.
I met him for the first time a couple of weeks before my eighteenth birthday and he passed away on my twenty-sixth. In those eight years that I was lucky enough to know him, it is amazing how much of an impact he made on me. He helped me through a few really hard times in my life and even had a hand in saving my life at one time as well.
When I moved away from home and my family to start my life in a state halfway across the country, I didn’t know anyone other than my husband. When I first showed up at Ray and Robin’s door (my mother and father in law) for the first time, I was pretty nervous to meet them and since I was moving in, I really wanted them to like me.
To my surprise, I immediately felt comfortable, although I was intimidated by the crowd of new people, I felt like I had known Ray forever like I was already part of the family.
It wasn’t long before he was my go-to for whatever was on my mind and I can still hear his voice echo in my head assuring me when I would doubt myself. He would refer to me as Number five, his fifth child, and always finished his words of encouragement with a well placed, sweetie, as well as one of those big hugs he was known for.
He was the best man at our wedding and even gave a memorable toast that was filled with inside jokes that only our small group (Ray, Robin, Mike, and I) understood. He also had a nickname for my dog Sparky, he called him Scooter and whenever we would part ways, he would always tell us to Keep it between the ditches!
He was a father to me even though he didn’t have to be, that was always my favorite thing about him. He wanted to be there for me and I had not seen a lot of that in my life so I was especially thankful for him.
It’s nice to look back on things, but it reminds me of how much I miss him and how much he meant to me. I feel like I was too young and naive to really appreciate him while he was here but at the same time I feel like that is another lesson that Ray has taught me in life, the lessons keep coming.
His life is a reminder that we need to enjoy every moment and appreciate the people that we are blessed to have in our lives. Celebrate the holidays and make the most of the time we have because it will be over soon.
So once again, I enjoy our Christmas tradition of putting Ray’s Christmas Tree out as well as decorating the rest of our home.
Each year we also have a weird Christmas Tradition that may be exclusive to just our family, we choose between the green or white tree to display.
We keep both and all of the different decorations for each tree in storage every year and then a few days before it is time to put it up, we decide which tree we are going with, this year it is the white.
There is no cryptic reason for the selection of the white tree this year, the only reason is that the green one will not fit in the basement and our puppy will eat it if we leave it on the main level where she can get to it, so white it is!
No matter what your Christmas Traditions are, whether they are commonplace or exclusive to your family, it is important to have Christmas Traditions with your family. It is part of your legacy when you are gone and it is a great way to enjoy the time while you are here.
Even if your Christmas Traditions make other people do a double-take like the Upside Down Christmas trees seem to do, it’s important to have Christmas Traditions with your family, no matter how unique they may be!
Personally, I think the more unique your Christmas Traditions are, the more fun they are! We may have to add a third Christmas tree option to our collection, an upside-down one. There are so many cool ones to choose from, it is going to be hard to decide which one would look best in our home, we may need to get a couple!
Which upside-down Christmas tree is your favorite? Click here to see them all, learn a little bit more about this Christmas tradition.