As a kid, we always had a real Christmas tree. There were tree sellers who set up in parking lots in my neighborhood. We would pick out a tree, buy it, and carry it the 2 or 3 blocks home.
Now, we usually get a real tree. We go to a tree farm to pick our tree. We cut it down, and wait for the tractor to come around and give us a ride back to the parking lot, where they tie it up while we have hot cider.
As a kid, we always had a nativity scene, surrounded by a Christmas village, underneath our Christmas tree. The village houses were made of cardboard. The 3 kings couldn’t be in the nativity scene until Epiphany (3 kings day.) So, the kings and their entourage started at the opposite end of the Christmas village, and moved a little closer to the nativity scene every day until it was their time. On the tree we had Christmas lights, tinsel, and ornaments that were older than me. We also had a traditional Lithuanian ornament that we bought at a museum gift shop.
Now, we have a nativity scene, usually under the tree or on a nearby table. We have an ever-expanding Christmas village that includes a fire station, pet store, post office and Irish pub. I still don’t let the 3 kings arrive too soon. We have lights on our tree and on the bushes in front of the house. It seems like the strings of lights always worked when I was a kid, but now we are lucky if the strings of lights last for more than one Christmas. We have a lot of ornaments, and we get a few new ones every year. The ornaments include Irish dancers, cartoon characters, skiing Santas, and places we’ve visited. I also have a few ornaments from my childhood. The only thing special about those is that they are still older than me.
I am a genealogist with over 30 years experience. I have been researching my own family history since 1974, and I did client research for several years. I hope to have more time for research and blogging in 2012 than I have had in the last two years.