Virtual Advent Tour

7 Dec

Today as part of The Virtual Advent Tour, I want to talk a bit about our long-standing family tradition of decorating for Christmas. Yes, I am aware that a lot of families decorate for Christmas, but we were always very specific about when we decorated the house.

My birthday is in December. In fact, my birthday is today. For as long as I can remember, we never EVER decorated the house before my birthday. It just wasn’t done. As soon as my birthday came and went, then the boxes of lights, decorations and tree parts (yes we were a fake tree family) would come out and the decorating would begin.

When I was younger and I’d see that some of friends’ houses were decorated before the 7th of December, I’d get confused.  Didn’t they know the decorating rule? How could they be okay with putting up trees and reindeer before my birthday? In my young mind it was just wrong. I tried explaining it, but no one had any idea what I was talking about. Very confusing.

Now, I wasn’t an obnoxious kid or anything. I didn’t think it was because it was MY birthday. I genuinely thought that globally December 7th was the official start of the decorating season. I think it had a lot to do with the fact that when I was a kid, the stores tended to wait until the second week of December to unleash their massive Christmas displays. Oh and the Peanuts Christmas cartoon usually came on around my birthday, too. I think I was around 11 when I first realized that there was no official start date to the Christmas decorating season. But just because I realized it didn’t mean that we started decorating before the 7th, oh no. We still always stuck with the tradition.

I’m 37 now and my husband and I have our own house. And we have our own traditions. But we still don’t decorate until my birthday. It just wouldn’t feel right. And it still seems weird to me to see houses all lit up with lights before today. Over the past two weeks friends have been posting pictures on twitter of their trees and decorations all nice and sparkly.  And it’s taken every last ounce of self-control I have not to say “Are you crazy? It’s not the 7th yet!!!!!”

So tonight we’ll drag out the Christmas totes. We’ll put on some Christmas music (something else that doesn’t make an appearance until today) and we’ll decorate our home. Once we’ve had some birthday cake, that is.


36 Responses to “Virtual Advent Tour”

  1. Chrisbookarama December 7, 2010 at 8:13 am #

    That’s cute! Happy Birthday! I hope you have a good time decorating tonight. Birthday cake and tree decorating sound like a perfect duo.

    • lavenderlines December 7, 2010 at 1:00 pm #

      Throw in some shrimp appetizers and the Glee Christmas episode and you have a perfect Colleen evening!

    • lavenderlines December 7, 2010 at 1:00 pm #

      Throw in some shrimp appetizers and the Glee Christmas episode and you have a perfect Colleen evening!

  2. amymckie December 7, 2010 at 11:37 am #

    Heh, happy birthday, and happy decorating! Funny story 🙂

    • lavenderlines December 7, 2010 at 12:59 pm #

      I am nothing, if not funny. LOL

  3. slpmartin December 7, 2010 at 11:46 am #

    Happy Birthday! Hope you have a marvelous day.

    • lavenderlines December 7, 2010 at 12:59 pm #


    • lavenderlines December 7, 2010 at 12:59 pm #


  4. leeswammes December 7, 2010 at 11:52 am #

    Happy birthday. I can imagine how confusing these sort of “rules” are for kids. You are trying to figure out the world but no-one explains exactly why the decorating is done after your birthday.

    I like that though. First your birthday is important, and only after that it’s time to think of Christmas.

    Have a nice birthday today!

    • lavenderlines December 7, 2010 at 12:58 pm #

      Yeah, I think it started off as my parents not wanting my birthday to get lost in the excitement of Christmas.

  5. Cat December 7, 2010 at 11:58 am #

    1) Happy birthday! 😉
    2) I love that you use this date as you “Decorate Now!” guideline. I use Dec 1 only this year I totally wanted to decorate by the second week of November and my husband wouldn’t let me. heh

    • lavenderlines December 7, 2010 at 12:57 pm #

      To each their own. But if you had decorated the second week of November, there may have been some (goodhearted) mocking. 😛

  6. sprite December 7, 2010 at 12:16 pm #

    Happy birthday! Enjoy your birthday cake!

    • lavenderlines December 7, 2010 at 12:56 pm #


  7. Kailana December 7, 2010 at 1:05 pm #

    Happy Birthday! I don’t wait until the 7th necessarily, but I do think it should at least be December before decorations go up. Places around here have been decorating since just after Remembrance Day and that is a bit much!

    Thanks for joining in for the tour!

  8. GeraniumCat December 7, 2010 at 1:11 pm #

    Happy birthday! In the UK people always tended to decorate much later, though I notice it seems to have changed in recent years. In my family we usually do it the weekend before Christmas, but we don’t have a fixed date – yours seems like a good one, though!

    • lavenderlines December 7, 2010 at 1:19 pm #

      When my folks were kids they decorated on Christmas eve!

      • Linda December 7, 2010 at 2:41 pm #

        Happy birthday! I hope you enjoy the celebration, the cake and the music!

  9. Marg December 7, 2010 at 3:34 pm #

    Happy Birthday! And fun Virtual Advent tour.

    My date for putting up the tree varies, mainly because it seems to be linked to the date that my son gets his room cleaned up! Could be Christmas Eve this year!

  10. Tami December 7, 2010 at 4:16 pm #

    Happy Birthday! Great story of your family traditions.

  11. Cait H. December 7, 2010 at 5:59 pm #

    Happy Birthday!!! Hope it was a good one 😀

  12. raidergirl3 December 7, 2010 at 6:59 pm #

    Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas! What a perfect day for you to post the Advent Tour – a new Dec 7th tradition.
    PEI is certainly decorating earlier and earlier every year. I like that you have a set date.

  13. Cass December 7, 2010 at 8:10 pm #

    Happy Birthday! I hope you have a great time decorating for Christmas!

  14. Laura Best December 7, 2010 at 10:55 pm #

    Happy Birthday!

    Dec 7th? I’ll eventually have to break down and decorate a week before Christmas. I usually wait for one of the kids to decorate the tree. One year that was the 24th…How lame is that?

  15. oh December 7, 2010 at 11:51 pm #

    Happy birthday! What a great way to keep your birthday special and then celebrate the season! And I’m glad you’ve maintained the tradition. Sometimes we invent new ones, but it’s always precious to keep old ones. Happy holidays to you and yours! adn thanks for this excellent stop on the “tour!”

  16. Risa December 8, 2010 at 2:20 am #

    That’s a sweet tradition!…in my family we’ve always begun decorating on December 1st. And it all comes down on Jan 1st or 2nd.:D Happy Birthday and happy decorating!^_^


  17. Caroline December 8, 2010 at 3:34 am #

    Sorry for being late, still Happy Birthday to you!
    In France or Switzerland we never decorate the tree bevfore Christmas Eve. I am surprised to learn that this is done so early in many places.

  18. jan December 8, 2010 at 4:51 am #

    Happy Birthday.

    Quite right not to put up the Christmas decorations until after your birthday! It makes perfect sense and a lovely start to the christmas anticipation for you!

  19. kaye December 8, 2010 at 1:20 pm #

    my son was born on December 1st and we had the same rule–no decorating for Christmas until his birthday was over. We also have the tradition of burning an advent candle each night counting the days to Christmas. The first dot is always burned off on his birthday and we sing Happy Birthday to him while it is burning.

    Oh–Happy Birthday to you 🙂

  20. Court December 9, 2010 at 1:43 pm #

    Happy belated birthday! Thanks for sharing your Christmas decorating traditions with us. 🙂

  21. Christine December 10, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

    It’s now the 10th and we have yet to decorate.

    BTW, we had a similar rule in our house, growing up, b/c my bro’s bday is the 6th.

  22. vvb December 10, 2010 at 5:22 pm #

    happy belated birthday! and what a great way to celebrate it!

  23. Gnoe (@graasland) December 11, 2010 at 6:56 am #

    Of course you don’t decorate before it’s been your birthday! Maybe you should come live in The Netherlands where we don’t decorate until Sinterklaas has gone home again on Dec 6th. 🙂 Well, most people don’t anyway.

    I’m not sure now (and don’t want to go through the trouble of looking it up because I’m on my phone) but didn’t I receive your grocery bag exchange packet on your B-day?? That’s cool! And just like St. Nicholas who gives presents on his birthday instead of the other way around. I love traditions! But hey, I’m a museum employee so I should. 😉

  24. Gnoe (@graasland) December 11, 2010 at 6:57 am #

    OMG I forgot to say happy birthday! LOL Happy 37th!

  25. Erika December 22, 2010 at 6:52 pm #

    Belated happy birthday! In our house the tree goes up on December 6. Not a day before. the only other decorations that are out before then are the Advent candles.

    Merry Christmas!


  1. Tweets that mention Virtual Advent Tour « Lavender Lines -- - December 7, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Colleen McKie and Marg Bates, Kelly & Marg. Kelly & Marg said: Virtual Advent Tour Day 7: @lavender_lines […]

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