I don’t like to build things up in my head too much, like vacations or holidays. I prefer to keep my expectations realistic thus avoiding major disappointment when things, inevitably, go wrong. I call it expect the worse, and then be pleasantly surprised when the occasion is not an epic failure. It seems strange for someone who considers herself an optimist, but it works.
But for some reason, I never seem to apply this mantra to holiday decorating. As I spent all last week cleaning (which you would never know) in anticipation for a weekend of holiday decorating, I found myself envisioning a Norman Rockwell like scene, my family, gathered in the softly lit living room decorating the tree whilst listening to Christmas music.
It didn’t quite go that way.
The first Saturday in December is always the official start to my family’s holiday season. This year, after an early morning hockey practice, followed by a (very long) town parade, we returned home to begin the decorating. But first, I needed my husband to move some furniture around, to complete my week of organizing.
Have you ever moved furniture with your spouse? If you haven’t, don’t. And if you have, then you know what I mean when I say that it can be painful, especially when you live in a multi-level split. This, should have taken us about twenty minute task, took hours, and resulted in a near catostrophic cabinet fall, which left me screaming, “Run, Little Lady!” as I was sure she was going to be crushed by a two hundred pound computer armoire. Thankfully she’s light on her feet. That was the end of moving that day.
By five thirty, my kids needed to eat, and by the time we got the ornaments down from the attic, it was nearing 7:30, at which point, my kids start losing it. Second Son, as he attacks every job, moved at an almost frantic pace, determined to place everything anywhere and everywhere, as quickly as possible, with no input from anyone. Little Lady was fighting him for that privelege while First Son, to my great annoyance, sat in a Ninetendo DS coma on the couch. Overwhelmed by chaos and mess, I, not so nicely, called it a night and ordered everyone to showers.
Sunday. I woke up in a slightly better mood, to find Little Lady and Second Son had decorated the bottom 3/4 of the tree (First Son was still in a DS coma). It was the first bright spot of the holiday. Little Lady spent the next few hours alternating between watching tv and carefully placing ornaments on the tree. That girl makes my heart melt.Our day, then interrupted by back to back hockey games (what was I thinking signing up for hockey), flew by quickly. By the time we returned home, it was close to four. Time for the outside fun to start. And by fun I mean standing inside, listening, while my husband yelled out the names of my children every five seconds. There was Little Lady screaming that no one was giving her chance, Second Son having a tug of war with his brother over a strand of lights, someone inside for a time out, yelling, screaming, and all sorts of “merriment” going on.
Undeterred, I cooked a steak dinner, hoping that when they finished the lights, we could sit down to a nice dinner, after which, we would finish decorating the tree. Fat chance. The light battle continued long after the hanging was finished and all I was left with was indigestion.
Thankfully, Monday came, everyone went to school, and I finished decorating my tree, by myself, peacefully.
“Roll out the holly…”