Sunday, December 4, 2011


Traditions... every family has them. 
For my family, Christmas has always been a time that is rich with traditions.  As a child, putting up the tree and decorating the house was something that we did together as a family with great joy.  We kids could hardly wait until it was time to head to Starnes' Christmas Tree Farm to pick out our very own tree from acres and acres of Christmas trees.  From all corners of the pine-filled field one could hear the voices of six delighted children yelling to Mom and Dad, "How 'bout this one?  No, this one is better!  Hey Mom, over here!".  Actually, Mom was usually in the middle of it all, scoping out trees.  Bless my dad for his patience with us all.  He'd just bide his time, carrying the saw,  until a consensus was reached.  Then he or my brothers would lie down on the ground, which was sopping wet sometimes, to cut the tree down.  We'd squeal with delight when the final stroke of the saw sent "our tree" toppling to the ground.  Then it was off to tie the poor tree to the top of the van, pile in, and head home.  Invariably, it was nearly dark.  We never seemed to leave enough time to execute our excursion before nightfall.

Once we were home, we'd turn up the tunes (think Johnny Mathis or Bing Crosby), wrestle the tree indoors, and turn on the oven.  This was the one night when we got to eat all the chocolate chip cookies our little (or not so little) tummies could hold, along with a nice cold glass of milk.  We barely cooked them because at the Payne house we like them so soft and gooey that you just about need a spoon to eat them!

This year, Mom and Dad invited us down to help continue the tradition of setting up the Christmas tree.  Five out of six of us kids were able to join them for the fun.  The one sibling who couldn't make it now lives in Colorado, so he's got a good excuse!  This year it was a house full of music, cookies, decorating, and crafts.  There were ten little ones running around enjoying the festivities in addition to all of the adults.  It was a lively place indeed! 

We started out at a different Christmas tree farm this year, since our old stomping grounds are no longer open.  Marley and I arrived after the others.  It was a long walk to the back of the grounds, but all we had to do was follow the voices...

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Even the dogs came along for the fun!

Horses in a nearby field captured the girls' interest too...

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Beautiful babe in the sunlight.

Then we headed home to set up the tree...

Next, it was time for the kiddos to put on the decorations! 
Their favorite part!

Don't forget the angel! 
This year, the honor was bestowed on Carli.

Where was my darling daughter during the BEST PART of the whole afternoon, you ask?
She was passed out on the couch, 'cause tree hunting is hard work, ya know!

This year, there were enough little hands to help with the decorating that the adults got to sit back and relax a little.

Uncle Geoff's iPhone was a hit as well...
I think they were playing Angry Birds. HA!
Amidst cookies, music, and laughter, we added a new component to our festivities...

...crafts.  Marley woke up for this part!
There was also Dad's famous french onion soup, but it's not nice or flattering to take pictures of people while they're eating, so you'll just have to use your imagination. 

I love this time of year!  It was so nice that since we are living here in Indiana now, we were able to take part in the festivities that we often missed when we lived out of state. 

Traditions...every family has them. 
They're our common thread, the thing that brings us together, a safe and happy place.



  1. I loved this post, Megan. Of course, I love our little tradition, too. It's so special to see it being carried on to the next generation. I love those kiddos! It's good having you "home" to get to do these things again. Love you!

  2. The Paynes' are such an awesome family! What a great family tradition. The kids and adults look like they are having a blast! Love you guys!


  3. What great memories and fun photos! It's obvious that the kiddos belong in this family because I see faces that look a LOT like young versions of the adult Payne "kids."

  4. Love those Christmas traditions! And you know that Marley is going to remember these fondly when she's grown and doing them with her kids too!


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