The straw julbock has been part of my Christmas since childhood, along with gingerbread cookies, chubby painted candlesticks, and fresh smelling greenery. Over the years we have added new traditions to the old, mixing our Scandinavian and American heritage into something that is uniquely ours. Decorating the tree is one of our holiday favorites. It is now covered in ornaments collected over time — vintage glass balls, straw stars, popsicle stick reindeers, tinsel garlands, and felted elves, all have equal importance. Most of all this is a time to rejoice in life, family, friends, and togetherness. I wish all of you a joyous, peaceful, warm, and happy holiday season.