A lifelong tradition I’m now tall enough to complete on my own

The twinkling Christmas lights on the tree seem to glow to the beat of my favorite Christmas tune. 

The only sound in the room is the soft hum of the timer plugged into the wall—it keeps the lights on a strict time table.

My sister and I put the tree up with little to no help from our brothers.

When we were younger, we would watch my parents struggle to carry all the boxes up from the basement. All the boxes held fake tree limbs and shiny globes to decorate with. We would sit with red hats perched above our heads, and we would have our mouth coated in cookies made a few days previous. 

My aunt’s frosting rivals no other. 

We would help my dad unbox the tree, desperate to be helpful. We would separate the branches of differing lengths into piles to make the assembly quicker. 

After helping put the base up for the tree and making sure the “trunk” was standing perfectly vertical, we would gather a little too close for comfort around my dad and start putting pieces into place. We would put the branches in the right spot and he would follow to make the satisfying click that none of us were strong enough to make happen.

As soon as we got sick of that we would start helping my mom put the festive decorations all around the rest of the house. We have a red, small tree made out of jingle bells that we would run around the house shaking it to get a rise out of my mother.

I would help my dad untangle the lights. We would have them spread out across the carpeted floor while we plugged them in to make sure each bulb was still twinkling.

He’d carefully wrap the lights around the tree that, at the time, seemed to be a lifetime taller than I was. The lights would then be accompanied by glittering, silver tinsel. 

Once that was accomplished, my siblings and I would then carefully unwrap our precious ornaments. Our tree would soon become a motley mix of trinkets.

We would sit with red hats perched above our heads, and we would have our mouth coated in cookies made a few days previous. ”

We had dinosaur ornaments from my brothers, an Elmo one that was once mine, and the fragile ornaments that we were told to be very, very careful with.

The floor would be littered with tissue paper as my siblings and I fought over who’s favorite ornament would be front and center on the tree and who’s got pushed to the back side with the rest of the forgotten ornaments.

Once the tree was almost fully decorated, we would take out the tree-topper: a beautiful, handmade angel that my mom’s grandmother crafted. When we were younger, we would fight over who got to sit on my dad’s shoulders and place the angel on the tree with our matching Santa hats; however, this year, we didn’t fight and no one was placed on my dad’s shoulders.

I could reach the top of the tree by myself, and I was the only one who still put on our matching hats.

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