Every year we take a dead tree and place it in our living room. It doesn’t stop there, though.

We drag five large Tupperware crates upstairs, despite the fact that we’ll only use the contents of two. We rearrange furniture. We lose extension cords. We make a list for the hardware store.

We trim our house in lights, alternating red and white bulbs. Kerrie and our friend Mel make a late night Black Friday Target run. We hang the stockings (with care, obviously). We plan our group Christmas party.

We shop for gifts. We make a list. We check it twice, then again, and again about a million times. We watch Christmas episodes of The Office, and we comment on how we’re excited about watching A Christmas Story.

We prepare for guests. We fight over what day to open presents.

The month from Thanksgiving to Christmas serves to remind us of the power of tradition. And, more so, the power of repetition, habit and commonality. Because each repeated act is more than a nod to past celebrations. It’s an aid to help us remember, to speed up nostalgia. To remind us we’re part of something bigger than ourselves.

This was lovingly handwritten on November 27th, 2009