Ever since I was a kid, I always saw Christmas as a hopeful time of year. As a child, I'm sure it was because I was looking forward to the new toys and games that came on Christmas morning. Now that I'm older, I look forward to it because its a time that my entire family is able to get together and share some good laughs. Some traditions we still do, even though we don't have to, but we do them just because.
When we were all younger, my Mom used to cook a big meal on Christmas Eve and drove herself nuts trying to do it while getting all the presents wrapped, rolls made for the following day and all of us off to Christmas mass. So one year she just said she was done with the dinner and we were getting pizza. We all love it and it was incredibly simple and was ready for pickup right when mass was done. We still have the "Christmas pizza" despite the fact that we could easily make the meal now and my Mom is able to get rolls done days before.
While Rich and I don't decorate much for Christmas, I do insist that we do a tree and decorate the mantle. I'm not all into the outdoor lights because, frankly, its stupid cold out when you have to put them up and take them down. I'm all for enjoying my lights in the comfort of my warm house. ;-) So here's some pics of the tree and the mantle from last year (my husband has the camera up in VT right now, so I can't take any current pictures).