Haul Out the Holly: The Iacampo Family Decorates for Christmas

One of the oldest traditions my family and I have is decorating our house for the Christmas season the day after Thanksgiving. Our six hands—my mom, Laura; dad, Vince; and me, Basil, busily work to transform our small farmhouse into a winter wonderland that transports us to less stressful times. 

What may be the most notable part is the uniqueness of each year’s decorations—while they may be the same decorations, their placement and ability to add a bit of Christmas cheer each year has never gone unnoticed. This year was no different, especially as it marks my final time as a “full-time resident” of Chez Iacampo.

Early on the morning of the 27th, my dad cracked open our shipping container (as our house is under renovation!) to find our Christmas trinkets right where we left them—ornaments, trees and all. Backing up my mom’s car, we safely loaded all our “equipment” into the trunk before driving it over to the house to be placed in our dining room. Meanwhile, I prepped the house by taking down our year-round photos, placing them in a bin and cleaning all surfaces with an old t-shirt and some Behold.

After removing the lids of each of the boxes, my mom and I placed our Christmas decorations all over the house—using some, and saving some for next year. Despite our house’s size, we continued to laugh over the amount of trinkets we have. Seeing our items rushes forward memories of Christmases past, of times well spent, all the while we decorate to the Christmas music of John Denver, Michael Bublé and Nat King Cole. For my mom, the best part of decorating is “seeing all the decorations from the past and each one having a story to tell—and doing it with the two of you is great. Knowing that dad will take them out, and that you and I will put them together is great. Knowing that something will always go wrong and getting through it.”

By far the most important part of our setup is the tree, which doubles as the most difficult to set up and put together. Our fake tree has endured it all, from nearly falling over to the breaking of its legs, but it continues to stay strong and be the centerpiece of our house’s decorations—even after fifteen years. I took on the responsibility of checking all the lights, inspecting to see if life will emerge into the small incandescent bulbs once more. As two of our light sets didn’t work, a quick run to Target solved our issues. After the branches clicked into place and were ruffled to give the tree a full look, we lit the tree before moving to our most favorite part: the ornaments!

My mom summarized it best: “They remind me of the people who gave them to me or a memory of a time we’ve shared. Like when we see the Disney ornaments, it reminds me of all the trips we’ve taken; the older ones remind me of my childhood.” Ornaments show moments from life, our interests and the tradition they carry. Many of our tree trinkets come from my dad’s childhood, while others—like my dad’s favorite, of his friend Al—mean something important to us as a family.

Finally came my room, which takes tradition in the overwhelming number of decorations that we have. After having the same tree for over six years, with its legs too broken to fix, it was time to purchase a new tree that lives in the corner of my room. Filled with my own ornaments, the tree’s incandescent glow illuminates my entire room, along with lights around my window pane.

For us, the Iacampos, Christmas setup is a joyous time. While it definitely has its moments, our yearly decoration tradition brings us closer together and ignites the start of a wonderful season to praise the birth of our newborn King.

From my family to yours — Happy Holidays!