What a wonderful thread - I've just read it from start to finish - I love everybody's decorations, past and present! It was very educational too - I'd never before seen a Hannaka wreath - very pretty.
I don't have my decorations up, I'll be putting them up on Friday. The very first post mentions telling a little bit about your traditions, and that's been on my mind lately, so I'd like to do that.
I grew up Catholic, but became Pagan as an adult; as a very traditional person, it's been hard to celebrate the holiday with no previous sort of tradition to go on. Well, after nearly eight years, I think I've finally worked it out (yes, believe it or not, because of TCS! I was spotlight of the week last week, and a lot of people asked really intelligent questions that got me thinking about the holiday, and how I wanted to celebrate it). So, it's not a tradition yet (this is my first year), but I've got it pinned down now.
My BF is agnostic, but follows a Zen Buddhist philosophy, and the 8th is a significant day in Zen Buddhism (Bodhi Day - celebrating the Enlightenment of Buddha). As BF isn't religious, he doesn't "celebrate" it, but I thought it would be a good day to pick to start our holiday season, as it is significant to him, to me (for personal reasons), to our families (it's a Catholic holiday as well). Plus, the Bodhi tree can be seen as one varient of the World Tree (the probable origin of the Christmas Tree). (And because the Bodhi tree is a sort of fig tree, I'll make some sort of fig dessert - probably pastis - for eating after the decorations go up.)
So that sorted out when to put the tree and decorations up. But to take them down again? It turns out science has come to my rescue. Perihelion (the earth is at it's closest point to the sun) is in the first week of January. Perihelion, like the Solstice itself, moves annually by a few days. So I've decided to pick Perihelion as the 'end' point of my holiday season.
Anyway, thank you for letting me share my "tradition". It makes it a little bit realer to tell someone about it.
I'll take pics of my decorations on Friday - and the pastis if it turns out well.