After a few weeks in the sunny south, we arrived home two weeks before Christmas. Having left the day after Thanksgiving, I had not been able to decorate the house for the Christmas holidays (I love decorating for Christmas)! I decided that as soon as we got back home, the bins were getting lugged out of storage, and the tree, lights, garlands, and etc., were coming out and resuming their places. Thus, last Monday afternoon, we pulled into our driveway, unpacked our belongings from the trailer and headed out to find “the perfect tree.”
Question: How many stores did we have to visit before we found anything but a Charlie Brown special?
Answer: Four! I was amazed! At each successive store we visited, my hopes grew smaller. One large retailer had a total of four trees left! Well, of course, we could have bought a ten foot tree and then hacked off about four feet so it would fit in our living room, but that is not my idea of a good tree, let alone a perfect one!
Thankfully, my longsuffering husband was involved in the quest, and was willing to chauffeur me all around town. We finally found a great selection at Home Depot, and while Paul went to find a cart of some kind, I held up a prospective tree and asked the kids, “What do you think about this one?” Josiah, in his pre-adolescent wisdom said, “Um, I don’t know. They all look about the same to me!” Out of the mouth of babes…
Meanwhile, the temperature had dropped considerably, and we (I say we, but in all actuality, it was just I, since Paul and the kids wimped out and went inside the store to wait) were shivering in the garden center section of the store, waiting for the one elusive employee that could trim the tree down and net it. Apparently, that takes a special kind of skill. I think the ability also entitles you to extra long coffee breaks. We waited in the howling wind for at least twenty minutes before the employee came sauntering in, wiping the doughnut crumbs from her lips, and eyed the line of people waiting to get their tree trimmed. Yes – there was a line. Even at this late date, there was more than one family without a Christmas tree! Unbelievable!
After we stuffed the tree into the back of our truck and I packed my two ice blocks, otherwise known as feet, into the truck, we headed for home like a barn-sour horse. I dragged out the decorations and remembered that half of my lights had died last year. Crud. The lights have to go on first, wouldn’t you know. I decided that fixing dinner was the better part of valor, and that you can bear almost anything on a full stomach. So the decorating was put on hold temporarily while I nourished our bodies and souls with hot dogs. Hey, cut me some slack – the fridge was pretty empty after being gone for two weeks!
As soon as I finished my tube steak, I jumped in the truck, accompanied by Esther, and we headed to that great retailer, the ubiquitous Walmart. You know, the store that sells everything. Except white indoor Christmas lights. Seriously… they had none. Frantic that my evening of decorating was in peril, I dashed off to my favorite store – CVS. While I browsed their limited selection, Esther pointed out that the lights were BOGO, saving me a costly error. So, in the end, we got twice the lights at a store closer to home. Whatever. :)
The kids love decorating. The Christmas music blares while they hang all the ornaments on one side of the tree, clustered thickly like forbidden fruit. They shriek and dance around the room, causing me to fear for the safety of my precious ornaments.
Once the lights were on, decorating began in earnest, and the kids worked extra hard and fast, because at the end of the tree decorating process, they know their favorite part is next – the Fisher Price nativity set. I bought it years ago when Josiah was a baby, and we only get it out at Christmas. I guess that is what keeps it special. Having a toy that you can only play with a few weeks out of the year is pretty memorable.
It was quite late by the time we finished, because of all the delays, and they were all tired and ready for bed after the long day. I cleaned up the boxes and bins, and put them back in the closet and returned to the living room to view our handiwork. Ahhhhh! Beautiful. This will also show you what our living room looks like after the renovations we made.
Before: concrete floors covered with paint spray and freshly painted trim
The stone thing in the corner has been a rather difficult obstacle to overcome in my interior decorating. It used to house some kind of wood burning stove, but that is ancient history. It became our tool central for several months, and, I must admit, only the last vestiges were cleared away when we brought out the Christmas decorations (yikes)!
However, this is what it looks like right now. Notice my wall collage in the making just behind the tree. I plan to fill the whole space with pictures of different sizes and shapes. I’ve got a pretty good start, but I still have several pictures left to mount on the wall.
The stone corner is now home to the much-beloved nativity set. I love it! There is plenty of room for them to re-enact the Christmas story on the ledge – just like a little stage!
I am looking forward to a very merry Christmas in our lovely new home!