My Two Fa­vorite Christ­mas Tra­di­tions

Pasatiempo - - Essays - by Ar­ryel An­draud

The thing I re­mem­ber most about the cold, snowy win­ter, and Christ­mas, is putting up the Christ­mas tree with my mom and all of my cats. Of all the tra­di­tions I share with my fam­ily, my two fa­vorites are putting up the tree and try­ing to bake.

Months be­fore Christ­mas, I would ask, “Mom, can we put up the tree yet?” And ev­ery year she would say the same thing.

“We can put it up when it gets closer to Christ­mas,” she would say in a leave-me-alone kind of tone, and some­times I could ac­tu­ally feel the frus­tra­tion in her voice. It was the same at­ti­tude when I asked to open a present early, be­cause most of the presents were un­der the tree long be­fore the hol­i­days.

Putting up the tree is my fa­vorite part of Christ­mas, be­cause I get to spend a lot of time with my mom. The first thing we have to do is get the tree out of the garage. We have used the same plas­tic tree ev­ery year. When we take all of the boxes down from the top shelves of the garage, they are dusty— so dusty that I could write my name on the boxes with my fin­gers.

The first thing we put on the tree is the lights. We have to re­mem­ber to turn them off at night, or it makes the liv­ing room smell like burn­ing plas­tic when the lights touch the green plas­tic tree. Next, we put on beads of all dif­fer­ent colors and sizes. It is hard not to get them tan­gled up with the lights, but my mom and I have be­come ex­perts at it. Af­ter get­ting the beads all the way to the top of the tree, we put on all the dec­o­ra­tions with hooks. Most of the dec­o­ra­tions that we put on the tree are things that I have made in school. Some are gifts from my grandma that she bought from dif­fer­ent parts of the world, and some are just store-bought red and green balls. The very last thing we place is an an­gel dressed in pur­ple, with a sil­ver halo. It goes on the very top point of the tree. When we are done, we stand back and watch the tree glow with all the dif­fer­ent dec­o­ra­tions that took so long to put on.

Be­tween the time I ask my mom to put up the tall plas­tic ev­er­green we use ev­ery Christ­mas and the time my mom says “yes” to ac­tu­ally putting it up, I don’t do any­thing ex­cept try to bake. The cook­ies I made usu­ally turned out a green­ish color — good for Christ­mas, but I would have been hap­pier to have had red and green cook­ies. The smell was so sug­ary, and so was the taste. If you even took one bite it would have made you sick in five min­utes.

One Christ­mas, I was try­ing to make muffins for my whole fam­ily and a few of my friends. I put a lot of ef­fort into mak­ing the muffins. I even tried us­ing a recipe, and I don’t do that very of­ten be­cause I like to cre­ate and com­bine in­gre­di­ents in a creative way. But when I was mak­ing th­ese muffins, I thought it would make a big­ger batch if I put more of each in­gre­di­ent into the recipe. Think­ing about that now, it was not one of my best ideas— def­i­nitely not one of my best ideas. Af­ter many at­tempts, I am sorry to say, I never got it right. The only thing that was good about my mis­takes was, one of the batches was un­like any other. I made it so wrong that I could throw a muf­fin on the floor and it would jump up like a bouncy ball. How­ever, af­ter that batch, there were un­for­tu­nately no more eggs, milk, flour, or su­gar left in the house. An­other bad thing caused by my need to try and bake was that the kitchen smelled worse than when my mom would make Brus­sels sprouts in a pan. At last I gave up, and my mom went to the store and bought cookie mix. I tasted the cook­ies I made from the mix and de­cided that they were bet­ter than any­thing I had made from scratch.

Since Christ­mas is com­ing up soon, I will most likely do the same thing I al­ways do, but with one dif­fer­ence. This time, I am sure that I will bake ev­ery­thing cor­rectly so my mom doesn’t have to get store-bought muffins or cook­ies.

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