Friday, January 8, 2016

We Wish You A Happy Chris-Val-Fourth-Giving

Every year it seems like there's that one Christmas decoration that gets overlooked when all the others are put away at the end of the season. You know the one. The little figurine or picture or table runner or towel that gets overlooked in all the re-boxing and storing and cussing, and then – WaBam! – it's July and someone asks “Why do you still have this life-size Santa standing in the corner of your living room, half-buried under a pile of unfolded laundry?”

You know the one.

Eventually you find it and set it at the top of the stairs with all the other stuff you plan on taking downstairs on your next trip to the laundry room, and then – WaBam! – it's November and you're going to be getting the Christmas decorations out soon anyway, so, why bother?

Or maybe you do take it downstairs, but all the Christmas decoration boxes are full, and you've piled a bunch of stuff on the floor in front of them so you can't get to them to store it away properly (and you'd like to say the storage area is a mess because of The Great Remodel, but the truth is it's always higgledy-piggledy) and so you end up putting it in with a pile of random holiday decorations and it's never seen again or at least not for a couple of years and by then everyone's forgotten about it and – WaBam! – it's like having a brand new decoration to display.

My point is...

This year's front-runner for mis-stored Christmas decoration is Max's stocking. He thinks it's still in the living room, under the Christmas tree, hidden among the empty boxes and the last few (practical) gifts (like the socks that I lovingly picked out because they desperately needed them and the jigsaw puzzles I gave them even though I am the one who ends up putting them together although they all appear out of no where to put that last piece in). Gifts that I will add to the assorted piles in their rooms when I take down the Christmas tree.

Taking down the Christmas tree, of course, reveals that one Christmas ornament that gets overlooked when all the other ornaments are carefully taken off the tree for re-boxing and storing, so when it comes time to take apart and store the Christmas tree – WaBam! – there it is and you have to set it aside while you continue to unfluff and unplug and fold up and squish the pokey, dusty, fake-needle dropping tree sections back into the box because they all came out of there and so they must all go back in but now they don't fit and you're hot and sweaty and dusty and where did that freaking decoration go and where is the cat and why is the box meowing?


Except that this year the children were in charge of putting the decorations on the tree and they took one look at the piles of stuff on the floor in front of the Christmas tree decoration boxes  and decided that we would do a minimalist tree, enjoying the sparse beauty of a semi-fluffed, pre-lit artificial tree upon which most of (well, some of) the lights worked.

In the quiet darkness, those twinkling white lights (the ones that lit, anyway) were quite lovely and peaceful. Or they were until the cat decided to claim the tree as his own fortress of solitude and hid beneath it to launch nightly surprise attacks upon the unsuspecting ankles of anyone passing by.

Eventually The Princess decided to add some hand-crafted decorations to the tree, just like she did
when she was little. But instead of hanging glitter-covered cut-outs, or Popsicle stick creations, or beaded... somethings... she decorated the tree with Buffalo Wild Wings crowns, using it as an excuse to eat there almost exclusively the week before Christmas. (Note: Buy B-Dubs stock. Now. In large quantities.)

I am hoping that Max's stocking turns up eventually, but if not it will join the Santa decoration which has sat on top of the entertainment center year-round for the past three years. Santa's become a fixture up there, along side the family photos in the inspirational, catch-phrase photo frames (“Good Times,” “The Boys,” “Family Fun”). The photos that are now five years out of date – except for the “Family Fun” frame which still has two empty spots – in the frames that caused The Princess to roll her eyes so hard they still haven't focused.

“Mooooom,” she said, rolling her eyes, “we're not that kind of people.”

What kind of people? I asked.

“The kind of people who put signs with words on them everywhere.” Which is kind of funny, because since then she has painted approximately ninehundredseventythree canvases with inspirational sayings and snippets of songs and they cover Every. Square. Inch. of previously bare wall space in her room.

And she's right, because I'm fairly certain the kind of people who routinely display inspirational messages on their walls would never leave a Santa decoration up all year. For multiple years.

Sometimes I worry that I'm shortchanging my kids by not decorating for each season. But at least once a month I do try to rotate the pile of mail, newspapers and assorted school papers needing to be signed and returned – or at least clear off enough space on the dining room table for three plates (we're never all four home for dinner at the same time anyway). And the laundry is always folded and moved out of the living room within two weeks. And there isn't (hardly) any expired food (from 2009) in the refrigerator.

And in addition to the year-round Santa decoration, I also have a pink-glittered Valentine heart on my bookshelf, a red-white-and-blue flower arrangement over my sewing table and a solar-powered, head-bobbing, Thanksgiving turkey figure on my desk, so it's not that I don't decorate for the holidays, but more like I decorate for all of them all the time.

I'm multi-decorational. Continual celebrational.

Happy Chris-Val-Fourth-Giving.

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