Last week I tried a little quick photography in Kingston. That got me motivated to try to capture more of my family’s moments that make up the stories we like to remember. And it’s easy to find those kinds of moments as we start prepping our home for Christmas.

Our tradition when we lived back in the States was to chop down our tree, put it up, and decorate it all the day after Thanksgiving. Since school and work carry on the day after Thanksgiving here in England, we put it off a day and set to work on the weekend.

So here it is, a look into the excited and cluttered Barrett household as we get set for Christmas!


The boys wanted to get started straightaway. So here’s our opening scene, pajamas and all. Jack had the plan.


It’s important to try out all of the materials to make sure they are safe. The boys approved of the tree skirt.


This is my favourite part. The boys love to pull out each tree ornament and marvel at it. We talk about each one and then put it on the tree. So many of our ornaments have great stories attached to them. This one is a santa bell each boy has enjoyed pulling from the tree and ringing throughout the season.


Colin fit right in this year. He took over the job of finding and unwrapping ornaments. And we didn’t break any (until they were hanging at least!).


Jack loves to organise the stockings. He took care of decorating the entire shelf this year all by himself.


Decking the halls with teamwork.


This is another example of one of our traditions, homemade ornaments. 2013 was the year of wooden ornaments and water colour paints. This year might be crayons or coloured pencils.


The finished project, with messy toy shelf included.

I’d love to hear and see how you and your family are preparing for the holidays. I’d also love to hear a few good ideas for winter activities and traditions and we head into the darkest days of winter. So please, drop a note and share!