My husband teases me mercilessly about this.

“It’s Thursday morning,” he said earlier this week. “Isn’t it time to set the table for Sunday?”

No. I set it this morning — a mere 30 or so hours before we’ll sit down to Christmas dinner.

It’s tradition. I like to go through my mother-in-law‘s china and my aunt‘s silver a day or so before a big dinner to make sure nothing is cracked or too tarnished. I like to set the table at my leisure, fussing with centerpieces and water goblets. I like looking at the dressed-up dining room in anticipation of the meal to come and in memory of those whose placesettings adorn it.

I spent the afternoon leafing through cookbooks and listening to Christmas music.

And occasionally glancing at my holiday table …

Already set.

All ready for the holiday.

Merry Christmas.