Happy new month, everyone!
Yesterday was the first Sunday in Advent, and the artificial Christmas tree we had ordered came just in time: on Saturday around noon, five minutes before we wanted to go out eating with friends (they were treating us in exchange for our having watched their kids while they were in Prague for a weekend).
It's a fairly big one, 210 cm (6'10") tall, and not quite cheap, though we saved €20 by seeing that the same tree was in a separate catalogue with marked-down prices. But we'd always had a tree that was bigger than I when I was a child, and we thought we might as well get a "decent" one since we'd be counting on using it several years in succession.
Stella set it up and unfolded it; it looked rather skeletal at first because the "fingers" at the end of the branches were all bunched together from having been in the box. But after she spread them out a little, it began to look rather nice. And, I think, you don't even see that it's artificial unless you're standing close to it. So that's nice.
Yesterday afternoon, Stella called me over into the living room for a little Advent celebration. She had prepared a plate with some goodies and had made tea; a CD with boys' choirs singing Christmas music was playing. She asked me to light the first candle on our Advent wreath, and we spent some time together feeling a bit Christmassy. She said that sitting together on a Sunday afternoon in Advent was always a nice memory from her childhood.
This morning, I opened the first door on my Advent calendar: a bell was behind it.