Usually in this house, some of our decorations come out at the beginning of Advent, including our nativity scene and the Advent wreath. Then we go find a tree; we have chopped ours down on a tree farm a few times, but not recently. After we decorate the tree, we put up the five stockings for the children.
Usually a windstorm obliges us with enough green boughs to fill the mantle, and this year we had a windstorm that not only produced enough evergreen limbs for the entire country, but knocked out power to hundreds of thousands in our area, some more than a week!
Between the power outage, our furnace giving out, our living room renovation attempts, and a family illness, we managed to keep to tradition for the most part; we put up a tree, we hung the stockings, and put out our daughter's angel collection and our boys' Nutcracker collection, which, with all 4 boys collecting, has now exploded. We even did a little cookie baking.