I, however, sighed internally when I saw the (un)finished tree and the way it did not line up with the image in my head. I feel as if I didn't quite get it right, especially since last year's homemade ornaments are still lacking strings to hang them with. However, home ownership and hosting Christmas is new to us and the truth is that we're starting new traditions that will evolve as the children age and as my husband and I get a handle or where and when to purchase holiday decor. Maybe we'll always run to the farmer's market because they have the best trees. Maybe playing youtube mixes will be what we do on the days we decorate. Surely, as the kids grow, they will bring home enough ornaments that we'll run out of space on the tree to hang them. There will be multiple popcorn-stringing and construction paper-chain-linking parties in our future too.
Even though I'm planning a weekend shopping trip for more decor, the true lesson in this is that the holidays are a fun and messy endeavor. There is no such thing as perfect trees or perfect holiday gatherings. There will always be a missing ornament or a lopsided tree; colored lights with unlit bulbs and pine needles on the floor. The important thing is that my large, loud and loving family will gather around out and, after they not-so-delicately point out the tree's flaws, they will all proclaim what fun we had and that we should do it again next year.
*Yes I am too lame to have loaded holiday music on iTunes, but that's another story.