Day Writing by Heather Hamilton-Maude: The Christmas Season
By about 7:30 a.m. on Black Friday, all three trees we had obtained from family the day before were in the house – one in the living room and one in each kid’s bedroom. We had gathered the totes of Christmas décor, and stuff was literally flying everywhere.
My son was happily unpacking each and every thing, oohing and aahing, occasionally making a mad dash to his room to put the lights, a specific ornament, or piece of garland on his tree. Meanwhile, my daughter was going through the ornament boxes like a bloodhound following a fresh scent. Come to find out, she was procuring all her favorite ornaments to put on her tree, and stowing them safely to the side.
I was so busy trying to find my coffee cup while simultaneously attempting to save each breakable object as it emerged from storage that I didn’t realize what was going on until she had completed her mission and staked her claim on her pile of favorites. Following a brief but near-violent confrontation when my son found his blue candy cane ornament the doctor gave us when he was born in her stash, things settled down and I looked around to see that we had everything, and I do mean everything, out for Christmas. Before 9 a.m., the day after Thanksgiving.
My husband did that man thing of quickly and efficiently disappearing as soon as the trees were placed, with a smirk and the advice to enjoy the start of my favorite time of year.
So, I gathered up that elusive coffee cup, chugged then refilled it, turned on the Christmas tunes, and away we went. I managed to get the lights strung, thought they look like someone was in a mad rush, before all the ornaments were hung. My perfectionistic nature cringed inside as they were gathered in bunches, hung on each other, and otherwise placed with great care and excitement.
Fighting over whose turn it was on the three-step ladder began to escalate after a while, so I sent both kids to their room to work on their own trees for a minute, quickly rearranged a few ornaments that were about to make my eye twitch, and away we went again. Our tinsel and garland had both seen better days, so we ended by stringing a 70-foot strand of ribbon around the tree, gracefully looping it from branch to branch. By evening, it was all wonky, but my husband complimented it, and my kids are thrilled over it.
When everything was done on the tree, the kids instantly gathered up their new-to-them Christmas tree train, and set it up around the base. And there they played for hours, with that loud train chugging away, tooting its merry horn, all while occasionally hauling a hotwheel car or narrowly missing a toy cow.
One week later and we have most of the other décor placed. To be honest, most of it was done by noon the day after Thanksgiving. I am currently being hounded daily about making the cookies in the shapes for Santa, and I have purposely failed to mention we have some gifts that we could wrap. The train and random toys are scattered under the tree, while my tree skirt is hanging on the back of a kitchen chair.
While it pretty much looks like a four- and a six-year-old decorated our tree and house, because they did, I wouldn’t change it for anything. Will I have a perfectly decorated tree again in 20 years? Yes, I will. In the meantime, how truly special to watch the Christmas season unfold for little children. To teach them, and remind myself, that Jesus is the reason for this season, and to soak it all in.
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