One more reason to love this time of year? CHRISTMAS TREE DAY! And yes, we make it an event in the McGaugh house. We all wear red and green, we make festive food, we sing carols all day, we drink our first glass of egg nog, we might watch a Christmas program, we cuddle in our jammies and read by the tree—we essentially pretend to be elves. Christmas Tree Day is a big day every year.

Katie sings as we start our day

We prepared lasagna this morning. I love serving lasagna on Christmas Tree Day. It is easy to prepare in advance, and I love that its colors—the Italian “tri color”—are so festive. We managed to eek out the last of the basil from this year’s faltering plant in the backyard, and the red and green sauce smelled so good cooking and looked so pretty with the white ricotta and fresh mozzarella. Katie helped to dollop the ricotta in this picture.

Picking out our tree: my dad helped us transport our tree with his truck, and Eric wore his Santa hat.

Elf Katie with this year’s tree!

The merry band

Jammies and cuddles

Our lighted tree this evening

I invited my parents to have dinner with us: lasagna, French bread, Caeser salad, egg nog, and Nana’s boiled cookie recipe. We ate in the dining room on the Spode and enjoyed the lighted tree. After dinner, I got the kiddos and myself into our jammies, and we watched the old home movies my mom and dad brought over. Watching past Christmas tapes was extremely comforting, even as I realized that three people in one of the scenes (Grandpa Mitchell, Uncle Eric, and Aunt Bella) are now gone. I felt on the border of tearing up, but I also feel like they are all still with me, especially during this season. By keeping our traditions and honoring our family, we stay connected to the people whom we have lost. In each moment we spend with one another, in each action that honors our past, in each moment that we are merry, we preserve a bit of them—I really know this to be true. Part of the gentle magic of this season always is to use love and tradition as a way to keep ourselves present with those we miss and to keep our memories vibrant and vital.

Tomorrow I think we will have a Christmassy sort of day: time in our jammies, more Christmas reading, songs, perhaps a Christmas craft, working on our Christmas cards…that sort of relaxing, bask-in-magic, time-together sort of day.