Christmas decorations, as I have mentioned before, have to be tweaked a little this year since my hoard of decorations is having a vacation in my MIL's basement while we are here. I did bring a few small packable items that are sorta traditions for us now. I brought the Christmas stockings, and of course our elf (who made his first visit this year, night before last back from the North Pole). The kids were glad to see him.
Here is the pile of handmade christmas bags I made last year for wrapping gifts in. I brought them along this year too. Last year I found I had a lot of christmassy fabrics and ribbons in my stash and I wanted to try to get out of the cycle of buying wrapping paper that was just used and thrown away. So I made a heap of fabric gift bags with attached ribbons in various sizes to wrap our gifts in. Well they went over a treat and I didn't have to throw anything away. They were also a lot tidier to clean up than the shreds of wrapping paper. I simply folded them back up and put them away for Christmas' to come. Eventually I'll make more to give gifts in and maybe someone else will carry on the tradition.
I also remembered to bring the two advent calendars I found in England. They are simple things, but the kids enjoy the task each night. I think they are all the more important as it doesn't really feel like Christmas to us without the change in the weather. The advent calendar was always one of my favorite tasks and as a kid a way of keeping track of how far away the big day was. Every year we used to make a giant wall sized calendar at school and we would count down the days.
I'm still debating whether or not to get a fake tree. On one hand it would add to the decor and make it feel a little more festive and personal since so much here is not really my style. On the other hand it would be just one more thing we couldn't bring home with us. I'm trying to keep the amount of things I'm acquiring to a minimum because we obviously don't need MORE stuff, and I don't want to have to find a new home for it all when we leave.
I like to decorate the tree, but it would also involve me purchasing all new ornaments to decorate the tree with, again, MORE STUFF. Am I just being a scrooge?
I don't think the kids would care one way or the other, though they enjoy decorating the tree, I don't think they think about it once its finished. Certainly not when it's time to put it away after the holiday.
They groove more on the cookie decorating, the scavenger hunts, the wrapping of gifts.
This is just the start of the festivities, more to come.