Decorating for Christmas
Last year I performed an experiment. Partly I did it because I was too stressed and busy to do anything else, but I also wanted to see what would happen. Instead of orchestrating the holiday decorating, I pulled out the boxes and waited to see whether the kids would put things up. I left the boxes out for a week and then whatever was still in a box didn’t get put out that year. It was informative to see which Christmas decorations really mattered and which were clutter. I culled out the clutter before putting all the decorations away. This year my approach is different. With company expected and a shipping coming up as soon as the calendars arrive, I do not want to live with a clutter of decoration boxes taking up space. It feels like today is my one day to spend on decorating for the holiday. After today I’ll be launched into all the tasks which people outside my house depend upon me to complete.
In the past several years there has been a source of holiday guilt. We have not put up outdoor lights. I simply have not had the energy and no one else devoted the time. I knew I was making that choice and felt fairly at peace with the lack of outdoor lights, but other members of my family felt the lack. This year I wanted lights outdoors. I wanted them both as a gift to my family, but also because I just wanted them. It meant I had to climb a ladder, which is something I liked doing at a younger age before my imagination was quite so full of scenarios where people fall off ladders. I braved the ladder. I altered the plan so that I did not have to climb through a tree which apparently hosts some hibernating wasps. I knew I had to do the outdoor lights first or I would be too tired to do them later. I will put up a Christmas tree in defiance of fatigue, I will not put up outdoor lights in the same condition. I know me.
The outdoor lighting began at 11 am. The tree assembly began at 1 pm. Lighting the tree began around 3 pm. It is now 5:30 and the decorating is essentially done. I know I’ve accomplished the most important piece, which is this:
Some of these books are so sappy they are annoying, some of them are wistful, some of them I love, some of them we still have because the kids love them even if I do not. I try to collect them carefully, because we don’t have any more room on the piano, but I can’t turn down a book which speaks to me. Somehow pulling out the holiday books makes the season real. Oddly, the other thing that does this is my Christmas tree skirt. It is red, white, and green crushed velvet. I only ever get a good look at it when I am putting it on or putting it away. The rest of the time it gets covered with gifts.
This year we have a small addition to our decorations. Max is a sock doll zombie who has been part of our Halloween for several years now. But this year he didn’t want to be put back in the box with the pumpkin stuff. Surely a little friendly zombie can be a Christmas decoration if he has the appropriate hat, right?
The house is decorated. In the process of decorating, both Howard and I accomplished a dozen small house maintenance tasks which have been waiting. Things feel renewed and ready. Tomorrow I have to get back to my regular work.
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