Our Advent calendar helps us count days until Christmas. My grandparents created a beautiful Advent calendar out of wood. They cut out and painted 25 ornaments to be hung on the wooden tree, and one ornament is put up for each day. When my brother and I were little, we would get to pick odd or even numbers and put up ornaments on those corresponding days, and we have continued this same tradition in our family. As we got closer to December 25, the tree had more and more ornaments helping to build anticipation for Christmas. For some reason or another, my grandfather would always put the turtle on the top of the tree as a joke instead of the sweet angel that my grandmother most likely intended to go on top. Through the years, it has been fun to continue that tradition and make sure that the turtle keeps his place on top of the tree. Through the years, it's the little traditions like this that bring joy and help us remember and celebrate our family tree.
In my family growing up, my grandmother had a gumdrop tree. My mother had a gumdrop tree. And when I got married, I was given a gumdrop tree at a Christmas wedding shower. The first one I had was a chintzy see-through plastic tree that was in a box that said "money tree". I guess some people tied money to the branches as a way to give cash as a gift. But in our family, this small plastic object was pulled out each year and gumdrops were stuck to the ends of the branches. The bottom tray held a bunch of gumdrops under the tree for the extras that would not fit on the branches. I loved my daily ritual in December of passing by the gumdrop tree that was placed in the hallway outside the kitchen and of snatching a few gumdrops. (Note to anyone who tries this: You can always conceal your snacking by restocking the empty branches with gumdrops from the tray. Your real challenge comes when the tray is empty. Good luck on that one.) Here's the description I