It’s that time of year again. When you go overboard looking at gorgeous Christmas decorations on Pinterest and spontaneously decide to give your fireplace a makeover, which requires 2 trips to Home Depot for spray paint and results in glue, soot and pine needles everywhere. What, just me? Sigh. Please enjoy this post from my archives. I’ve got some clean-up to do.
Santa, Please Bring Me Some Patience
Yes, the holiday season is magical. No, there is nothing like the joy and wonder in a child’s eyes as he awakens on Christmas morning to find that Santa has visited. I know it won’t be long before I have to drag my teenagers out of bed at noon on Christmas day and force them to eat pancakes and open presents with their parents. I realize this festive and holy season is not about stuff or decorations or perfection, but about our loved ones and the babe who was born in a manger.
Now that we’ve gotten all that out of the way, let me tell you about my weekend.
My 5yo has been pestering us incessantly to get a tree and put up our decorations. As strenuously as I argued that Christmas doesn’t begin until the 25th, MAYBE the 24th, not the day after Thanksgiving like our entire culture and neighborhood of uber-eager holiday decorators seem to think, my protests fell on deaf ears. Fine. By the 12th day of Christmas, our tree will be nothing more than a handful of dried-out needles clinging to a parched trunk, but fine. We’ll put up our tree.
So we go to the tree place, and after debating the merits of Frasier vs. Douglas fir and how big is too big, we get our tree. By the time we get it home and set up in the stand, it’s bedtime and there’s already a fine dusting of pine needles throughout the living room I vacuumed earlier that day.
The next day, the sun is not even up when the kids begin clamoring to decorate it. But first, I must locate the lights and ornaments in the basement. I drag the boxes upstairs, and the kids have torn them all open before I’ve even found the extension cords. The toddler starts pulling out strings of lights, which I’d painstakingly sorted into individual bundles the previous year. Soon, they’re knotted and tangled, and my husband steps on a string with his size-11 1/2 foot, crushing the glass bulbs. Bring out the vacuum again.
Halfway around the tree, we realize that we don’t have enough lights to finish. C. runs down to the corner store to buy two more strings of lights. This happens every year. It’s a mystery what happens to all those extra lights between Jan. and Dec. When he comes back, we realize the new lights don’t plug end-to-end like the old ones. This requires an elaborate network of extension cords.
Next, we string up the ribbon garland, only to realize – again – that we don’t have enough to cover the entire tree. We try various configurations and various types of ribbon, none of them acceptable to anyone. I have no Martha Stewart illusions, but I do strive for a step up from Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree. Meanwhile, the boys have started fighting with the nutcrackers as if they are Batman action figures. One nutcracker gets scalped and loses an arm.
I run to Walgreens, then Party City for more ribbon. No luck. I attempt to sneak out to Michael’s solo, but the kids are on to me. I try in vain to convince them to go grocery shopping with Dad instead, but no luck. At the craft store, we find ribbon and a huge line. I reward the boys for their patience by letting them each pick out an ornament. They choose plastic, multicolored, glitter-encrusted globes. Awesome.
Homemade ornaments on the Christmas treeBack home, we pull out the rest of the ornaments and get to work. Clumps of reindeer and Santas congregate on the lower branches. Hideous, glue-laden homemade creations are spotlighted front and center. A couple of angels with sentimental value plummet to the floor. Glitter and pine needles are everywhere.
During this very, very lengthy, arduous process, I may or may not have screamed “Get OUT of here!! You’re RUINING it!!” I may or may not have hurled bunches of half-burnt-out lights at my husband. I may or may not have stomped out the room and slammed doors. I DID finish the day with a yoga class and a large glass of wine. The magic of the Christmas season, indeed.