We finally put up our Christmas tree this week, much earlier than usual. Back in the day we may have put up our tree the weekend after Thanksgiving as many families do, but that has not happened at our house for about as long as my feeble memory can remember back. At least we do not have to stay up late on Christmas Eve this year to decorate our tree as we have a few times in the recent past.

After our tree is up, trimmed, decorated, and lighted, the final act of official tree putting up at our house is the placing of a Christmas Angel atop the tree. This family tradition of ours began over 30 years ago when my wife first took possession of her dearly departed grandmother’s Christmas Angel. Our oldest son was two or three at that time. At some point in the genealogy of our tradition, my wife and I gave up the honor of topping the tree ourselves and began to hold our son up so that he could place the Christmas Angel atop the tree.

A few years down the road, we had more babies and so we then had to begin a systematic rotation for the honor of placing the Angel, giving a turn to each child year-by-year, oldest through youngest and then over again. Each year in order to insure fairness I always have to review videos or photos of prior years to insure a strict adherence to the rotation.

At some point, we decided that the official Angel putter-upper also gets to be the official Angel taker-downer. As the children have grown up, other changes have taken place too. Child #1 went out of rotation when he was married and moved away from home, and he now presides over his own rotation. Another change that has been a little hard for me to get used to is that I do not need to hold the kids up anymore as they can all reach the top on their own now.

While looking through my photo archives to determine this year’s honoree, I put an Angel log together for the last 5 years:

  • Child #3 – December 24, 2006
  • Child #4 – December 19, 2007
  • Child #2 – December 23, 2008
  • Child #3 – December 24, 2009
  • Child #4 – December 12, 2010

I got a chuckle out of how early we had set up our tree this year, and how late the last few.

Wow! I may even be able to get a gift picked out for my wife before Christmas Eve at this rate.


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