So, This Is Christmas

Why yes, I did declare an early Christmas this year.

The whole thing began innocently enough, really. The pumpkins on my front door stoop had gone bad weeks ago and I’d thrown them out and it’s just that it felt so barren out there, so gloomy, so lonely, so sadsadsad.

Here then, some greenery. But only a bit.

A few hours later, I found myself carrying a twelve foot ladder down the street and plastering a waytoosmall wreath to the side of the house. I thought it cute in its tiny-ness, but upon second glance, it looks a bit misplaced, a bit random. Like a freckle, or Cindy Crawford’s mole. If only it were aysmmetrical, just above the lips (garage door).

Inside, there’s the annual toy tree. Bee and I decorated it together this year, and I guess that’s what I love most about this small tradition. That it’s something we can truly do together, with no end goal or template, with no hope for any real results. That it’s meant to be quirky, to be lopsided and imperfect. That she gets to lead and I get to follow. That it’s the fun tree, a make-a-mess tree, an anything-goes tree. That there’s a bathtub toy in lieu of the star, crinkle paper instead of tinsel. The color and shapes and treasures and mayhem.

It feels like an accurate reflection of our days. Colors and shapes, treasures and mayhem.

The deal used to be that, in lieu of gifts, Bee gets to take a surprise from the tree each day of advent. But this year, she’s fallen into a different sort of pattern and instead, finds herself putting more toys into the tree than taking them off. Just yesterday, the tree needed bandaged – it was hurt, right there, see, on its knee? – and so, out came the Band-Aids and the whole thing now has a nice little medicinal vibe about it.

I love it. I love this tree.

I love this time, this rich season of acceptance, of hunkering down, of going out with a bang. Of lighting a fire, of snacking on salami, cheese, crackers and calling it dinner. Of midnight drives to see Christmas lights, of sleeping in and staying up late and another Rudolph? Sure! Why not?

Colors and shapes, treasures and mayhem.

Like toy trees.

Like life.


This is an essay for Land of Nod, one of my favorite brands for kids. Thanks for reading, and feel free to shop our toy tree below!:

Christmas Company Ornaments, Pink Sweet Treat Ornaments, Camping Buddies, Modern Facet Garland, Toy Digger, Wind Up Walrus, Wind Up Wooly Walker, Pullback Mini Car, Nautical Boat, Love Handle Rattle, Rainbow Shape Ornaments, Artist’s Surplus Jar, Doctor Play Set, Where’s the Pair, The Odd One Out, All That Glitters Goldfish

  • what a dumpling :) and what a fun idea … so nice to let children have something to take charge of and decorate ‘on their own’ … love the photos :)

  • Our son decorated the tree by himself, too, a couple of weeks ago. So fulfilling for him, and so happy for me. And yes, all the decorations are adorably imbalanced, but I wouldn’t change a thing (which is a big deal for me, since decorating is my “thing” every year).

    Happy Christmas, Erin, Bee and Ken. xoxo

    • Ha – I hear you! I can’t bear to change a thing, either, although I might have changed my tune by January. ;)

  • Forrest will definitely help decorate the tree this year again, and I’m planning a few crafts and baking jobs now that he’s old enough to really enjoy it. Hooray!

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