It happens every year. It’s one of our favorite things to do. It just so happens it occurred a whole lot earlier this year than usual…we have already decorated for Christmas.

For some folks this isn’t a big deal, but I used to be fairly rigid that all decorating for Christmas had to be after Thanksgiving. Then we had the realization that you can still be as thankful with a tree is as without, so why wait?

Regardless of when we decorate though, there is one tradition that I look forward to every year while we decorate…watching White Christmas.

I remember watching White Christmas as a kid. My mom and I enjoyed all of the songs and sang along every time. I am pretty certain I had a crush on Vera Ellen at one point too. It is safe to say I have loved that movie for over 30 years.

When my beautiful bride and I got married we had a lot of fun creating our own traditions. There are many that have carried forward to this day. Whether it is seeing a movie on Christmas, or listening to our favorite Christmas songs, or decorating…we love Christmas.

So, why do we do what do we do? Years ago we were given a couple of Christmas trees by my wife’s grandparents. We were excited to decorate, but putting the trees together seemed like a drawn out task. We had a VHS player (it may have been a DVD…it’s been 19 years and my brain is fuzzy) and a copy of the movie, so I put it on. I sang along with the whole movie and we decorated away. It stuck and now we do it every year. (When my boy came along he added watching Polar Express right after. So good.)

But why is this one of my favorite traditions? The small reason is we love the movie. The bigger, more important reason is because decorating our home sets the tone for the Christmas season. We are firm believers that atmosphere has a great affect on response. By setting up the atmosphere to be festive and joyful, we prepare ourselves for the very same.

We have so much to celebrate and to be thankful for. Each of the traditions that we enjoy reinforces this in some way. From decorating to looking at lights, giving gifts to attending church services…all of it highlights the blessings we have been given and the gratitude in our hearts.

For me, Christmas is just a little bit brighter and a little bit better when Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye help is kick it off. Getting to share it with my two favorite people every year makes it even better still.

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