Christmas day in our house is always celebrated with an outing for Chinese food.  Sure, it's partly an homage to The Christmas Story, but we've been doing it as long as The KingofHearts and I have been together and it's grown into a tradition with meaning of our very own.

Mostly the meaning is this: neither one of us has to cook or clean dishes. 

And that's good enough for the both of us.

This year we chose a restaurant in Chinatown for our Christmas day fare and headed there for a late lunch.  After filling our bellies with Kung Po Chicken and sushi (yes, I'm aware sushi is Japanese, shut up, I know) we stopped over at the National Christmas Tree for a quick look-see.

There are so many things I could comment on in the following photo.  For the moment, I will ignore the fact that we let that kid wear bare legs, slipper shoes and a tutu to go out into thirty-nine degree December weather.  Instead I'll point out that this year's coat we bought her seems to have been designed for an orangutan as the sleeves are six inches longer than her actual arms.  But then a little later on in the day there was a medical emergency and a woman collapsed.  The D.C. Police parted the crowd to allow medical attention to attend to her just after The Dormouse and I walked by and it became a little chaotic.  We got separated on one side of the barricade they erected from out of nowhere and The KoH, The Caterpillar and my mother were on the other.  We were closer to the car, so they had to brave the crowds of unnecessarily pissed-off people and go around the edge of the park to get back to us on the other side.  I'm pretty sure that method of sleeve-holding is the only thing that kept The Caterpillar from disappearing into the array. So hooray for cheap coats that do not conform to children's proportions.

I've never been stingy with my opinion that the National Christmas Tree is a hot mess. Sure, it's better looking at night, but still, even then it looks like a tree that was captured in one of Spiderman's webs.  A portion of my brain always feels sorry for the tree because it used to be proud and tall and leafy but now it looks like it's just a humiliated shrub.

A couple of years ago the National Christmas tree blew down in a storm that almost picked our house up and sent it to Oz.  So now we have a Successor Tree.  It's much shorter. 

Surrounding the National Christmas tree are fifty-six smaller trees along what they call The Pathway of Peace, which, is a misnomer - at least if you're trying to walk by while a hundred other visitors stop and take pictures in front of their tree.  There is a tree for every state, five territories, and the District of Columbia.  Each year, ornaments for the state trees are made by a sponsoring organization in the state (usually a school, charity, or children's group) and then the ornaments are encased in a plastic globe to protect them from the weather and hung on that state's tree.

Most of them are just different hand made ornaments that are stuck inside the grapefruit-sized plastic globes and it's usually hard to see what the ornament is supposed to be.  My favorite this year was Florida's, which embraced the plastic globe encasement and took it to a whole new level.

It's all a White House tradition since 1923 and there is a nod to pretty much all the December holidays in the elipse.  There's usually a menorah, a nativity display, a kinara, a Santa's workshop, and a yule log, which is always my favorite thing to do - stand around it and stare at the flames, then leave smelling of smoke.  

But alas, there was no yule log this year.  All for the love of having the White House as a backdrop to the musical performances, they rearranged the site plan and the locations in the park this year and there was no room for the yule log. I haz a sad.

Let us all cry a silent tear for the missing yule log.


So that's our Christmas day.  Except for the one true Christmas miracle that happened. A picture with all four of us in it.