Jenn Morgan Danny Drake

The annual tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center has traditionally been the official event to kick off the holidays in the Big Apple. Grammy and Pappy decided that the Morgan household would take a cue from the world-famous tree lighting and kick off our own holidays in similar fashion.

Last year, Grammy and Pappy purchased a small pine tree which they had shipped from Maine for our daughter Isabella's first Christmas with the intention that we would decorate the tree each year and it would grow with her through the years. Unfortunately, my husband and I neglected to properly water and nourish the tree and this year it looks more like the pathetic sapling made famous in the TV special "A Charlie Brown Christmas." Fortunately for our daughter, Grammy and Pappy went into recovery mode and purchased a slightly larger, flourishing young tree to ensure the tradition they wanted to begin would carry on. Not wanting to see the same disastrous ending for this second woody perennial, my husband and I diligently watered and cared for it over the past few months. After all, if we killed this tree as well, I am pretty sure the grandparents would have killed the annual tradition they were so looking forward to.

With our beautiful, small bushy pine planted in the backyard, Grammy announced this weekend was the time to hold our first annual Morgan Family Tree Lighting ceremony. She was sure to add that she would take care of everything, and my husband and I "needn't do a thing." Sounded good to us. My husband and I have many great ideas, but aren't always so good on the follow-through, especially now that much our our time is consumed caring for our tiny tot.

Latest Video

The grandparents purchased the lights for the tree and arrived bright and early on Saturday morning to string up the lights for the big event. My daughter, who was outside to supervise the preparations, was dressed in a big, heavy winter coat and looked strikingly similar to little boy from the movie "A Christmas Story". Isabella started to waddle over to the ceremonial site to help decorate, however she abruptly toppled over and in true fashion of a child's constricting winter coat, could not get up. Isabella attempted to roll from side to side in hopes that the rocking motion would provide her the momentum she needed to stand up, however no go. She was down for the count. Though she was not much help to us while on the ground, the good news was she couldn't get herself into any more trouble!

With the lights on the tree and the family expected to arrive later for dinner before the grand event, my husband set to work readying the viewing room. In a sweet gesture and nod to the start of this new tradition, he set up a space heater and chairs in our enclosed sun room, and displayed festive red candles to provide a cozy ambiance for the ceremony.

To commence the festivities, Grammy and Pappy set up the dinner table with festive paper products, pizzas and Stromboli from our favorite Italian restaurant. Dessert consisted of a delectable cookie tray and hot cocoa to help set the mood for the sweet seasonal new tradition to follow.

With our bellies full and hot cocoa in our hands, the family gathered in the sun room to watch the tree lighting. With the push of a button, the bright, sparkly colored lights illuminated our little tree. At first there was stunned silence, which was followed by some laughing. Apparently the family truly thought we were lighting a tree that would be a little closer in size to the real Rockefeller pine.

Though the little 4 foot pine may have elicited a few snickers from both our relatives and any onlooking neighbors, the look on my daughter's face when the lights sparkled in the night was priceless. Kudos to Grammy and Pappy for introducing a creative and thoughtful new tradition to our family. It is certainly a wonderful way to kick off the season each year, and something we will cherish for years to come.

My husband and I are very interested in learning about new holiday traditions that we could share with our daughter to make the season special. If you have any family traditions that you would like to share, please email me at or feel free to post them on our forum. I look forward to hearing how you make the holidays memorable.



Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.