I remember visiting the state Christmas tree in Madison, Wisconsin when I was younger. It would fill the rotunda, so round and full. When I think back on cozy Christmas memories, those visits to Madison, Wisconsin at Christmastime top the list.

However, according to my parents it may have been one memory that became a family tradition in my head. They recently told me that we probably visited the state capitol only once or twice. You know how parents are: intent on taking away all of our joyful, happy childhood memories. 😉

I’ve thought about going back to back to Madison for the holidays to see the state Christmas tree again for awhile now, and this year was the perfect year to do it. 2017 has been less than magical (personally, I’m not talking state of the world here, although in some ways that fits, too) and I knew I needed do something festive; something to help slow down and reflect on the holidays ahead instead of just wishing the year to finally (finally! 🎉) be over.

I have a relative who lives in Madison and it turns out my mom had been thinking about visiting, too, so we decided to make it a girls weekend. We arrived in Madison on a Friday, so we woke up not-so-bright and not-so-early on Saturday to head out. It was a cold day, with a bitter, biting wind. We hurried around the building until we found the closest door to take us inside.

Reliving childhood memories and visiting Madison, Wisconsin in December to see the state Christmas tree in the rotunda! // dreams-etc.com

Reliving childhood memories and visiting Madison, Wisconsin in December to see the state Christmas tree in the rotunda! // dreams-etc.com

Reliving childhood memories and visiting Madison, Wisconsin in December to see the state Christmas tree in the rotunda! // dreams-etc.com

Reliving childhood memories and visiting Madison, Wisconsin in December to see the state Christmas tree in the rotunda! // dreams-etc.com

There it was! Not quite so big and tall as I remember–a different tree, and I’m a little taller now than I was back in the day. But still so beautiful.

Reliving childhood memories and visiting Madison, Wisconsin in December to see the state Christmas tree in the rotunda! // dreams-etc.com

In honor of the capitol’s 100th birthday, schoolchildren from around the state created ornaments to be used to decorate the tree. They had displays around the tree with one of the ornaments from each school, along with the name. I knew ahead of time that the school I attended when I lived in Wisconsin had sent in Christmas ornaments and as luck would have it, we walked in right by the display that had one of their ornaments!

Reliving childhood memories and visiting Madison, Wisconsin in December to see the state Christmas tree in the rotunda! // dreams-etc.com

Reliving childhood memories and visiting Madison, Wisconsin in December to see the state Christmas tree in the rotunda! // dreams-etc.com

We also visited the tree while a flute choir was playing. If you’ve been around here long enough you might know that I used to play the flute. I still do from time to time, especially during this time of year, because Christmas songs are so much fun to play! I thought the flute choir was a nice size and I loved listening to them! The flute is the best instrument ever, and you won’t be able to convince me otherwise.

As much as I loved seeing the tree, I also loved seeing all the kids who came with their parents to see it. As we left, a little girl walked in with her dad and my mom asked, “Do you think you were ever that young when you came to see it?”

I don’t know how old I was when we visited the tree, I just remember how majestic it was. As she skipped down the hall I hoped for her–and for the other kids–that the tree would be so big and magical that this one visit would seem like a childhood of visits, like it did for me years ago.

(Although I still think we went at least twice.)

What are some of your favorite childhood Christmas memories? I’d love if you shared them in the comments!

Reliving childhood memories and visiting Madison, Wisconsin in December to see the state Christmas tree in the rotunda! // dreams-etc.com