Today is the day to go out and get our tree! We haven't had a Christmas tree in the past several years for some reason or other, and so I am extra excited. We will put it right in front of the picture window facing the north so that all the people driving up the hill can see our beacon of holiday spirit! This will induce me to clean the house, throw out the old dusty black and orange Halloween candles and get my red and green going on.

I have always tended to not be a "keeper" and so I do not have a specific box or boxes of Christmas ornaments and decorations. I do not have the color coded plastic tubs tucked up in the attic. I do, however, have a few ornaments given to me over the years packed in various places that I run across while looking for other things. My tree may need a lot of strung popcorn and paper snowflakes to compliment the beautiful green foliage.

I am secretly pleasantly pleased to take on this challenge of hosting a family Christmas party out here on the homestead. I want to make it a memorable, uplifting experience for my family. A time for stepping out of the stress's of the daily grind for just awhile. I picture everyone with a smile on their faces. Non of that forced or fake stuff.

I want to hear laughter and easy chatting. Should we have soft music playing in the background? That would certainly be a revolutionary thing for this group. In my family we were taught to respect music and take it seriously. To have it as a background does not show respect. You either listen to music or you don't have it playing, period. I remember my dad telling me of a party to which he was invited as a young man, where there were jazz musicians playing their instruments to a happy, drinking, partying crowd. "No one was even listening to the music" he said with disdain! Soon, he had had enough and left via an open window....That's what he told me!?

by Mark Merizon

Anyway, yes, I need to start planning for my Christmas party now, and getting the tree will be a major motivator, "see stew?", as my daddy would say!