We have a tradition in our house. For the past 15 years our oldest granddaughter, Jen, has come to decorate our tree and help set up the christmas village. First she came with her girlfriend,then she came with her boy friends one by one. I remember the first time she came with Ty 6 years ago. She put the box of tree decorations on the love seat and they were going through them. I could hear her telling him “oh, I love this one. It’s been on grandma’s tree for as long as I can remember”, “Mom made this for grandma”, “Grandma Little knit these skates for grandma’s tree”, “see this one, I love this”, “oh I don’t know what that one is, it doesn’t mean anything to me” and on and on. Ty learned all about the ornaments that night; I learned that I had never realized how important our family traditions were to my darling granddaughter.

About four years ago the other two granddaughters who now live on the top floor of the house we live in, joined Jen in the annual tree decorating.  Ty was there with her then too, but she was so patient with the little ones, lifting them up so they could put a ball there, or a crocheted angel there, and a new tradition was started. The tree was decorated, the train set up beneath it, the village glowed in the darkened room and everyone had hot chocolate after the fun was over.

Tonight was the anual tree decorating night.  I cooked dinner for everyone. Little Katie, who is 10 and our youngest grandchild,was down here at 4 o’clock, dancing around, snapping her fingers, bursting with enthusiasm.  She started looking through the boxes for the village.  Grandpa was watching the Vancouver Canucks play Carolina, and she was sitting on the floor pulling out the sheets of “snow” and draping them on the window sill by the big window, and letting it spill over onto the long coffee table below.  “I don’t want to wait, grandma” she implored, so I told her she could start taking the village packaging out of the big box, and set the buildings up if she wanted.  When Jen and Ty came, 13 year old Annie came down.  We ate supper with Katie chafing all the while, wanting to start on the tree.

It made me feel so blessed as I watched them working together.  Ty and Grandpa went into my office to finish watching the hockey game.  We heard a few yells and curses when Colorado beat Vancouver!  What the###?!?!?

Tonight Jen brought fixings for the hot chocolate; Baileys, peppermint candy canes that she crunched up in fine pieces, chocolate that she grated to sprinkle on it and whipped cream.  I put the electric kettle on and when it was hot she left the tree to make the hot chocolate.  It was yummy, and I can tell you grandma never made it that fancy!  I asked her if she made it like that at home and she said “yeah, I made it when Ty and I decorated our tree!

Last year I gave Jen and Ty the train to put under their tree.  I have threatened to give each one of the grandkids pieces of the village and not put it up any more here at our place.  The very mention of that brings loud protests from everyone. “Grandma–you can’t do that–it’s a family tradition!”

To be honest I have been on a roll writing my second book this past while and I was really having a hard time getting  into the Christmas spirit.  But tonight Christmas came alive in our house again.  The six of us turned out the lights and gazed at the tree and the lights of the village and smiled.  And I realized a new what “family tradition” means to us.

Thank god for grandchildren!!