This year, I had no intention of decorating for Christmas. We’re in the middle of a huge upheaval in our lives and putting up Santa villages and even decorating a tree is something I have no time for. Besides, the tree we have is from our old house. It is gorgeous but we had a 30 foot ceiling in the living room. This house couldn’t handle half that tree. So I said No. We are definitely NOT decorating!
It’s not the first Christmas that we’ve gone light on the decorations. Last year, we spend the holidays in London and Paris. We decided in advance that we were not going to do it all up like we had in the past, because we wouldn’t be home. So this year I felt no guilt at all with my decision. And Jeff? He’s more of a ‘whatever you want to do, I don’t really care about that stuff’ kind of guy.
It all started with our nightly walk. We try to do 6 miles every night. After Thanksgiving, all the lights in the neighborhood started to go up. We’ve enjoyed taking new routes to see what people have conjured up. It’s a bit of a dog’s breakfast on some of them, but you gotta admire the attempt.
This year there are more inflatables than ever. Abominabol (sp?) Snowmen, the inflated cast of Frozen or Star Wars. The lights on a house from the pre-LED days and those who are a bit older. But then we would come home and our house was dark.
‘It’s fine.’ I thought. ‘We’re moving and have no time for all this.’
But then this weekend I started going through our Christmas ornament collection, with the intention of editing. I need to send most of it to my parent’s house for storage, when we make a trip to Portland in January to see them. I saw my kid’s names and all those little things they had made in pre-school and kindergarten. Ornaments we made together with glitter and their jagged handwriting. So I quietly mentioned to my husband that I thought maybe we should get a small tree we could take to Valencia – ‘because who knows how hard it is to get one there.’
He smiled and we went out to 7 – yes, 7 – stores before finding the right one and bringing it home. I decided I would only put a few of the most precious ornaments on it, ‘Just to be festive, because Emilie is flying home from school next week.’ But I couldn’t find the skirt that goes around the bottom, so I started digging in the garage. Big Mistake!
In one bin, I found the garland for the front door – and the ones for the staircase we no longer have. So I put that up. Then I found the Santa Village, and it didn’t seem like it would take that much work to clear off our lone table behind the couch and rig it together, complete with the ice skaters in the square. Jeff watched all this silently.
Then I found the outdoor lights. All those boxes that we had gotten on sale after Christmas a few years back and had never opened. I brought the bin in and showed it to Jeff.
‘I thought we were holding off on the decorating this year.’
‘A few lights wouldn’t hurt. I bet our neighbors would appreciate it.’
He shook his head and took the bin from me. And 3 hours, two trips to the hardware store later and we have lights on the house and in the yard! And it looks awesome!
Today I did a little shopping for stockings and I bought our traditional ‘Jingle Bells Jammies’. Every year on Christmas Eve, Santa’s scout (Jingle Bells) comes to our house and leaves boxes on the front porch for our kids. They are usually covered in glitter and chewed up carrots from the reindeer he rides. He comes to make sure all the kids are ready for Santa, and to sleep in the magic jammies (pajamas) he brings, complete with sleep dust.
I have tried to back out of this tradition. But every year the kids ask about their Jingle Bells Jammies and, well, what can it hurt to keep doing it for them? They’re grown ups but I’ll still go to the window and say, ‘I think I heard someone on the porch. Can you check and see who’s at the door?’ Emilie will go out there and come back smiling with her box from our favorite elf, spilling glitter across the floor as she opens it.
So I realized, even with all I have going on right now, maybe I’m not too busy to have a little Christmas Magic myself this year.