All things Christmas: bring on the cheer

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed the parallel of the term “Christmas decorations” to words like “Titanic” or “Hindenburg?”

I don’t want to overstate my case here, but I’ve had just about enough of these fat little bearded men dressed in red that go by the name “Santa.”

Admittedly, it’s all my fault. Decades ago I wanted to make the house picture perfect for Christmas by decorating pretty much everything that stood still. And some things that didn’t (I mean, you should SEE the picture from the year I dressed the dog in his little Santa suit).

Turns out my family doesn’t have this Christmas decorating bug thing I suffer with every year. In fact – and I know you’ll find this hard to believe – one daughter used to say it looked like “Santa threw up” in our house. Ouch.

But then one year, when said daughter was in high school, a group of her friends came over at Christmas time. “Oh, Mrs. Hammond!” exclaimed one of the girls. “Your house looks like it was decorated by Martha Stewart!” And this was one of the POPULAR girls, mind you, so Lord knows Girlfriend had her head screwed on straight.

I’d like to tell you that right then things changed and forever thereafter my daughters were so proud of my decorating skills they fought over who got to help decorate the tree and set out the Christmas village, which was by now approaching megalopolis status. Yeah, I’d like to say that, but it didn’t happen. Not then. Not ever. 

Still, I’d reached the point of no return. The “M” word had been uttered about my decorations. I mean, if I had achieved Martha-Stewart levels of loveliness, there was nothing I could do except go on competing with myself for the Best. Christmas. Ever.

So I accumulated Santas and angels and villages. I constructed elaborate scenes of snowy nights and Christmases past. And I got better organized by storing stuff in large containers and painstakingly recording their contents.

And every year after Thanksgiving, my beleaguered spouse faithfully hauled those storage containers into the house.

Now. Picture inside your home a virtual forest of large plastic storage containers. And although the containers were numbered once, over the years the numbering system changed, or the numbers got rubbed off, or here and there was the odd box that had escaped the numbering system altogether.

Yeah, it’s not pretty, people!

For one thing, there’s my computerized list of storage container contents. Interpreting that multi-page document is harder than cracking the tax code. Written the previous year, I usually haven’t a CLUE what it means in the present day. For example, one container (clear, medium-sized with red lid, green handles) contains: “Snowmen/Christmas quilt; two red runners for ‘mission-style’ cabinets; ‘greenery,’ ‘berry branches’ for snowmen vignette; four ‘snow encrusted branches’ (fill with silver/white/opalescent ornaments – need to purchase); fabric for base, two candles with holders that used to be on ice cream table; deer vignette; branches, red/green cloth; three owls, skinny Santa in plaid shirt for bench.”

Fa la la la la la …

And what, pray tell, is a “skinny Santa” other than an oxymoron? You see what I’m up against here.

With Christmas adornments strewn all over the house (on top of the still-present Thanksgiving paraphernalia), I eventually throw up my hands and cry, “Next year I’m buying a poinsettia and THAT’S IT! I’m DONE!” I mean, common sense has to return to the holidays, right? Well.

So I spend a week grumbling and mumbling and finally I’ve unjumbled the lot of it and found everything a proper place, vacuumed the glitter-littered floors and then…

At my front door are my grandbabies who have come for their first glimpse of this year’s Christmas transformation. And when I invite those precious little ones inside and the Christmas lights are reflected in their bright, shining eyes and they say, “Ohhh … that’s PRETTY, Mimi!!” – well, I guess you could say Martha or no Martha – the time spent making our home a magical Christmas place is so worth it.

Because, Martha? With all due respect – my grandchildren’s endorsement is the best one ever.

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