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The Christmas Tree Tradition

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Decorating the Christmas tree was one of their traditions. For as long as all the Stark children could remember they had followed exactly the same routine no matter what they would be doing during the rest of the month.

The first Saturday in December Catelyn would go up into the attic and bring down their boxes of Christmas decorations, Ned would go down to the local garden centre to get their tree along with Arya, and the boys would go and cut down as much Christmas greenery as they could find. And then just as it started to get dark they would all gather around to decorate the house.

Robb was always the overseer, he knew how things were meant to look and he would always rather make sure that everything was going smoothly than dash around like a mad person like everyone else. That way he knew who needed help most.

Sansa would take charge of the nativity scene first, including the important task of hiding the baby Jesus where none of her siblings would be able to find him until she revealed him on Christmas Eve, none of them were quite sure how she managed it – Arya was sure she cheated somehow and took her own failure personally every year. Once she had fixed that she would string the popcorn and other edible decorations for the tree.

Arya would always ensure the most embarrassing childhood creations were taken out of the box and put on display – although hers always seemed to disappear into a strange part of the house until Robb found them about a week later upon which him and Jon would take great glee in displaying them in the most prominent place possible.

Bran would always take charge of the windows, making sure that all of their neighbours knew that the Starks had their decorations up. The year Ned brought fake snow for him to spray on them he deeply regretted it, none of them could see out onto the street for weeks. Although his favourite job was when he got to climb the trees in their front garden to put the lights up, a job everyone apart from Catelyn was very glad to see him take on - if only because they couldn’t climb trees very well themselves.

Rickon would put a couple of ornaments on the tree before getting bored and going outside with the dogs, he never had much interest in actually decorating and since no one really thought it was a good idea to have the dogs where breakables were or to have Rickon near the breakables either so it worked out pretty well.

Ned and Catelyn were always in charge of the tree, each of the children would put a few ornaments up but really it was their special thing. Ned would tell the story of each ornament as he put it on the tree and no one would listen properly because they had heard every story a hundred times each already, occasionally Catelyn would correct him but they loved knowing that the stories were the same every time and that they could all recite them word for word.

Jon was always in charge of the holly, ivy and mistletoe covering the whole house. Part of the problem of this tradition was once they got the dogs they had to be very careful that none of it was going to fall off onto the floor, which basically mistletoe only went in dog-free rooms. Even though it was officially Jon’s job Robb would almost always end up helping, which made it a lot more fun for both of them.

Even though Theon had moved out when he’d started university he would almost always turn up around dinner time as they were finishing up claiming that he had missed Catelyn’s cooking. No one ever believed him.

They never had a particularly lavish dinner but it was afterwards that was the important part of the day. Sansa would take her spot at the piano and all of them would gather around to sing carols together. This was the only part of the day when girlfriends and boyfriends were allowed and were almost always invited even if it was rare for them to come. It was the start of their Christmas and it was a tradition that none of them ever intended on giving up.