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Come all ye

December 5, 2011

Col and Rose are singing “Oh Come all Ye Faithful” in shaky, squeaky voices while wrapping rocks and shells to give to their friend Cedar for Christmas, but to open today, December 4th. “Do you say, Happy Christmas?” Rose wonders, “or is it Glory Christmas?”

“Will you sing that Glory song, Mama?” Col asks me.

“You mean, hark the herald angels sing, glory to the newborn king? That one?” I ask, exercising my singing voice to my greatest and only fans.

“No, not that one,” Rose says. “The one about christmas trees and candy.”

“No, Rosie, it’s that one that goes, glor-ooor-ooor-ooor-ia.” Col explains.

“Oh. I love that one. Next halloween Coley? Do you know what I’m gonna say? I’m gonna say: trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat. If you don’t, I don’t care, I’ll pull down your underwear.”

“Hmmn. Who taught you that, honey?”


This is pretty much where we’re at. It reminds me of Thanksgiving when Rose and Col forked slices of turkey hungrily onto their plates, announcing wistfully, “I love chicken.”

Which is to say, we’re a little confused but working it out. We’re creating traditions in real time; so real that I just swept the kids up into my arms while joyfully singing along with Elvis: “Glory to God. In the highest. Oh, come let us adore him. OH COME LET US ADORE HIM.” (Which is my favorite Christmas song ever, which is baffling, because I grew up in a family that was allergic to Christmas). And now I’m taking stock of our potato supply for our annual first-night-of-Hanukkah dinner, in which my Quaker-raised husband sizzles latkahs and we spin the dreidel and let the kids play with fire.

And it’s all good. Rose is now playing Christian rock on her radio, twirling around and shouting, “listen! It’s Hanukkah music!

We decided that instead of cutting down a tree this year, we’d honor all our local conifer species (juniper, pinyon, blue spruce, white fir, ponderosa pine, douglas fir, limber pine, lodgepole pine, subalpine fir, engelmann spruce) by cutting a branch of each, binding them together with wire and hanging them above our south-facing windows.

~The kids, those funny kids, have not once asked where our tree is. In other strange and unsurprising news, we’re more of a open-presents-when-we-have-time-to-enjoy-them family, than wait until morning of Dec 25th, so lack of tree doesn’t throw off the gathering round the tree to open presents thing~

~Standing on the table is strictly forbidden, except when it’s not quite 6 am, and a very earnest little boy is hanging ornaments on a Christmas/Solstice/Winter garland thingy that no one quite knows the name of~

~That’s Maggie (formerly known as Jess for old-school readers), who visited us from Cali and who we miss already~

~Ornaments are made with play clay – water, salt, flour and…oh, go Google it~

Happy Christmas and Glory to Hanukkah to all of you!

24 Comments leave one →
  1. December 5, 2011 7:47 am

    Love this garland and all the complications wrapped up in it.

  2. Peggy permalink
    December 5, 2011 8:19 am

    i love it! my kids are all super confused too, but that really is the beauty of it all, isn’t it? we haven’t even begun decorating, as we are just able to see our floors after all of the craziness of our construction. the kids are anxiously waiting, and my hope is that we can bust out the bins of holiday goodies next weekend and have a decorating ‘party’ of sorts! Enjoy the holidays!!!

  3. December 5, 2011 8:50 am

    I am still laughing out loud at so much of this. In part because I can relate, but also just because you’re hilarious. An atheist mama myself, I still sang “The Little Drummer Boy” over and over today at Annabelle’s urging, “More pum, pum song, mama!”

    I’m thrilled to see photos of your Christmas tree alternative, and the ornaments are lovely, too. I’ll google them ;)

  4. December 5, 2011 9:00 am

    I love what you are doing in place of a tree this year.:)

  5. December 5, 2011 9:57 am

    I love the saving of the trees :o) I remember making my own ornaments, then it meant something more to me. I also loved that shiny floor :o) it points out I need to do mine lol.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      December 5, 2011 10:42 am

      No shiny floor around here. That’s just a photography trick. Or more likely, the evidence of my cheap, point and shoot camera and all that it misses. Winter blessings to you, Ginny!

  6. December 5, 2011 10:15 am


  7. ike permalink
    December 5, 2011 10:35 am

    Love the confusion in those kids minds. They see no reason to separate out the various holidays-it is all joyful to them.

  8. December 5, 2011 11:12 am

    I love how your “tree” is so you, so your family. In the best way possible. Happy holidays to my favorite family up in the mountains :)

  9. Dan permalink
    December 5, 2011 11:49 am

    Nice work Honey, I like your eclectic confused style! Love 100%, Dan

  10. December 5, 2011 1:02 pm

    I feel so confused about the holidays too but there is joy so that counts, yeah? =)

  11. Ruth permalink
    December 5, 2011 6:42 pm

    Thank you for the wonderful with all of the songs and traditions and religions (and chicken vs. turkey) mixed together. I felt good reading it. It brought me a sigh of relief as I pondered that any way of celebrating is a great way to celebrate. Happy Hanukah! Merry Christmas! Happy winter!

  12. December 5, 2011 8:09 pm

    I love your garlands! But methinks I could not do without the tree, alas.

    Also, the singing! Yay! The Critter has very strict (and mysterious-to-me) rules about when and what I can and cannot sing. Mostly, I am not permitted to sing along with ANYTHING. I am, however, required (he thinks) to sing “The Wheels on the Bus” on command. Hem.

  13. Melissa permalink
    December 6, 2011 11:22 am

    we are confused too, and it’s all good.

    avi was asking me about santa the other day and i sort of stalled and then he moved on without ever getting a satisfactory answer . . . i think he was saying he wanted to go see santa.

    and i suddenly realize i have to volunteer a whole bunch of hours at his school, so guess who is going to be working the hanukah party next week? oh yes, this gentile who somehow found herself not celebrating christmas and organizing the hanukah party. i love it. xoxo

  14. Maggie permalink
    December 6, 2011 8:10 pm

    So, to all you Rachel fans… their home IS as fun as it looks! Kids making fun out of nothing, boys digging humongous teeth out of elk skulls, chickens laying eggs and fighting over the Jerusalem artichokes (we thought they were kissing at first!), walks behind a cutie on a pink bike, hugs and tugs and touches and “fly me around again, Magolini,” painting and drawing and “look at me, look at me.” Oh, and the best part, pajamas and cookies and cocoa on the Polar Express out to Hermosa in the snow (thanks again, Dan, for giving up your ticket!). Peace and goodwill to you all, sweet family! Love you all, Maggie

  15. December 6, 2011 10:27 pm

    Oh, you are good for the soul, Rachel. I laugh so much here. (And I don’t think I’ve gotten around to telling you how great the new look is. Totally perfect.)
    We gathered bits of many trees, too, and made them into a wreath that gets hung like a flat donut in the middle of the house and ornaments hung. It’s kind of like a Christmas mobile, but really, it’s like having the whole forest come visit for a while.

  16. December 6, 2011 11:38 pm

    Love how you brought the outside in with different branches. I can’t cut down a tree, not with a best friend with a PhD in trees. Someone gave us a plastic tall tree. It’s funny how real it looks, how it fools everyone with the spruce scent soy candle going.
    I love how Daddies teach the best songs.
    p.s. How cool is it your background snows? Neat.

  17. Christy permalink
    December 7, 2011 12:57 am

    Beautiful. Truely. Funny how the holidays bring a glow to even we who dislike them. Especially when our children are involved. I will never forget the holiday that held a deep philosophical conversation (fueled by wine. Doesn’t everyone have those?)with my husband and step-sons. One about god and Jesus and religion. And when one of us who doesn’t believe in god was saying so, my younger step-son said simply, clearly, “I do” How my heart felt if might burst with pride that this young man had the courage to say how he really felt in front of his very atheist father. How proud I was of my husband for raising sons that thought for themselves, even when that meant disagreeing with him. Funny how their eyes and views soften ours. Thanks for sharing your family’s view.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      December 7, 2011 3:23 pm

      > How my heart felt if might burst with pride that this young man had the courage to say how he really felt in front of his very atheist father. How proud I was of my husband for raising sons that thought for themselves, even when that meant disagreeing with him.

      Yes! That is beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

      xo, Rachel

      Growing children at 6512 feet:

  18. December 13, 2011 7:23 pm

    i love your garland thingie! happy birthday!

  19. December 16, 2011 7:46 pm

    We’re traveling through our own holiday mish-mash… Today I was struck with the word “Solstmas!”

    All the joy of all the holidays to you and yours!!



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