Ever since we met six years ago, Alex and I have talked about getting a Christmas tree for about three minutes in December, and then decided against it. We go to California for the holidays every year, so buying a tree in New York first felt sort of unnecessary. But now that Toby is three—and totally into all things Christmas—we wanted to get a tree for him to decorate and start some family rituals.

So one night last week, after the boys were in bed, Alex snuck out and got a tree from a stand down our block. It was the perfect Goldilocks size: Not too big and not too little. When Toby woke up the next morning, we told him we had a surprise in the living room, and he walked out slowly and completely awestruck. “A tree,” he whispered, eyes big as saucers.

We made a plan to decorate it together that evening, so after school, Toby and I went to CVS to buy ornaments. I told him he could pick out whatever he liked, and he chose red bulbs, plastic pinecones and a gold garland. (CVS nailed it!)

So, that night, we cranked up cheesy Christmas music, and invited our two friends down from the 17th floor to drink spiked egg nog and eat pistachios.

We wrapped 300 tiny white lights around the tree…

…drank too much egg nog…

…and hung the ornaments.

Anton stayed up late (until 8pm!! rock star!!!) to be part of the festivities.

It was such a great night, and I’m excited to start traditions for our family. (People’s awesome rituals were so inspiring last year.)

Side note: Now we’re just wondering what to put on top of the tree. Do you have a star? An angel? Something different?

Hurray!!! Now that we’ve seen how awesome it is to have a tree, WE CANNOT BELIEVE WE WAITED THIS LONG!!!! What were we thinking all those years?!!! It makes the house look so cozy, and even getting up for a glass of water in the middle of the night feels festive:) Do you have a Christmas tree? What do you celebrate this time of year? Hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season so far.

(The finished tree from this past weekend:)

(Thanks to our friends R&K for taking most of these photos)