By Dave Ellis
Eleven months ago, my wife made me put all the Christmas decorations away. Guess what?
She now wants them all back out! I told her this would happen! Why bother putting them away? I love it when I’m right.
So I pull the stuff out of the attic. Actually my fourteen-year-old daughter does it. Why? There’s spiders up there! I’m a breadwinner in the family, we can’t lose me! So she bravely gets the boxes down while I take care of logistics since I’m management. She’s a good kid.
The worst thing to get down from the attic is our fake tree. It’s stored inside a giant duffel bag, and just like Santa in a chimney, it doesn’t really fit down the ceiling hatch. So my daughter starts pushing it down and I pull from below and it eventually is birthed onto my head. Every year. We now begin building the tree.
We bought a fake tree because we were tired of the mess of a real tree. This convenience is lost on me as we sweep up the fake needles off of the ground. As far as fake trees go, this one is not that bad. If I were a plastic squirrel looking for a place to put my plastic acorns, this one would do.
The problem with this tree is the setup. Each branch is color coded with slightly different shades of purple. Luckily I’m only color blind in one eye so I can ‘Popeye’ my way to setting it up. Ugg-gug-gug-gug. My wife and kids help me with this, as they want to be involved for a few minutes until it’s time for the lights. Then they stand back and let
Crazy do his thing.
I’m the ‘crazy’ in that last sentence. I arrange the lights with my own patented technique. That is, I try a new way every year to make the light-arranging easier. It never works. My family knows when I’m nearly done, as I start asking myself questions AND answer them too. “Why can’t someone make an easy way to string lights onto a tree?” reply:
“I guess they are all dummies, that’s why!” These conversations are held under my breath at no one in particular. By the time I give up, the kids are ready to jump in with decorations.
Each ornament is re-discovered, along with a semi-accurate history of the object. As the tree is populated, I realize the real joy is having a happy and healthy family. I ignore all the tinsel I’ve inhaled and look at the beaming faces of my kids. I hope these memories are the best. The façade of decorations enhances the true love we have for each other and brings out our best.
I know soon enough I’ll be pushing boxes back up into the attic and will comment on how fast the year has gone, and wonder what the new year will bring. It would all seem routine if I didn’t love my family so much. Sharing in these traditions and making warm memories is the business of family. I hope you experience these feelings this year too. Merry Christmas!