Now that you’ve gotten through your turkey meat induced coma, it’s time to drag out the holiday decorations. You may think with a dispirited harrumph, “Why bother during this God-awful year?” But if there is one thing we all could use now it’s some holiday cheer, so don’t give up.
Sometimes holiday decorating causes a bit of stress, but it’s still worth the effort. (Holiday stress: A human tradition since the dawn of time.) For instance, when our kids were growing up we would always have a family outing to pick out a real tree, a Norman Rockwell moment many parents strive for which often is tempered with tiring reality. When the boys were little it seemed to take hours to feed, coral and properly bundle them up before heading out, often requiring us to unbundle and re-bundle for yet another trip to the bathroom. When we finally got to the sales lot we would search the area, looking at what felt like every tree several times from several vantage points. After a mind-numbing family debate – amazing how even a five-year old can be so opinionated – we’d make a final selection and stand in the long line to pay.
After getting home with parental patience and energy running low, we’d struggle to get the scratchy tree off our vehicle and drag it through the front hallway to the living room while it shed needles and knocked pictures off walls. Finally we would jam it in our janky old-fashioned tree stand with rusty twist screws (barely functional but classic) where once secured it would lean cockeyed in some odd direction. Being a detail-oriented and thoughtful spouse, I would point out this deficiency to my beloved. He, at his breaking point, would insist it was just fine as it precariously threatened to tip over and sometimes did, spilling water and needles on the floor, infuriating him further.
One of these times, our oldest son, then about eight and not use to seeing mommy and daddy losing it, bemoaned while on the edge of tears, “This is the worse Christmas ever!” Boy, my husband and I still get a good laugh out of that one. Poor little guy! Real parents and real life: Sometimes they just rot. (Never fear: Our son wasn’t permanently scarred; he loves Christmas trees.)
Recently my husband has been relieving his quarantine antsy-ness by going through an organizational/stuff reduction kick, usually pulling out boxes of things of which I’m in charge. (Meanwhile, boxes of huge old electronics sit patiently in the basement waiting for the 80s to come back. I hear disco is in again; perhaps mammoth speakers and receivers are too, and he’s ahead of the curve.)
Recently he took out our boxes of holiday decorations. Apparently, for the past 30 years these boxes have had wild times up in the attic and multiplied like bunnies. I remember when we had one box of stuff; now we have enough to decorate a small Bavarian village. Each season I use a portion of this, but this year I may go wild.
An upside to this year is since no one is coming over to our homes, we can all go a bit decorating mad. We can all let our inner ten-year-olds take charge. Want to have an army of mechanical snowmen sing and dance every time you walk by? Enjoy! Want to set up a Lego winter village on every horizontal surface of your home? Go for it. Want to leave your tie-dye themed Christmas tree with psychedelic flashing lights up until you get vaccinated? Great plan. Just make sure the tree is straight. That’s really important.
By Mary Lynn Bruny. Mary Lynn is a Colorado freelance writer. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.