Quiet anticipation used to fill the classroom in December, classmates talking about what they wanted for Christmas, the teacher instigating snowmen, wreaths, and other appropriately un-church-oriented art projects that were also a bit festive...my most vivid classroom for Christmas was Ms. B in first grade. She somehow scrounged extra funds to get us all a box of crayons and some clay that smelled like lemons. I ate a little of the clay...but it didn't taste like lemons.

At home, the house would be filled with smells of fresh pine; sugary delights like fudge, cookies, caramel, splintzle (uhhh...that can't be what it's called. We'd take decorative irons on wire sticks, dip them in batter, and deep fry them, then coat them with powdered sugar...they're delicious but I can't remember their name); and the hearty winter fare my mom always seemed to turn out once the weather started enforcing a coat-worthy forecast. Some years the tree would be up the day after Thanksgiving, some years it wouldn't get put up until Christmas Eve. Most years it was a half-and-half attempt, the tree getting put up in early December, the lights around the 15th, and the ornaments in time for us to open our presents. I used to think giving my siblings things like $1 trolls I got from the vending machine at Fred Meyer's was the best gift I could ever come up with...

I love December, but now it's a little different. We have a teeny 2' tree that I'm perfectly happy with, no extravagant treat plates to hand out, and there's all sorts of minutia to accomplish before the 25th. One of Cody's presents arrived in the mail today, and I look forward to wrapping and labeling it tomorrow, and putting it on the below the tree in the bookshelf. There's less to stress and get excited about, but at the same time, there are bigger stresses. It doesn't matter. Christmas! The hope and thought of Christmas makes everything better! ^_^

What about you? Which Christmas or holiday is the most vivid in your memory? Do you have a favorite tradition?