When it comes to decorating for Christmas, the General and I don’t always agree. More times than not, we do it her way. However, there are some things for which I draw a line in the sand and refuse to cross over. It’s not that I’m a clone of Ebenezer Scrooge. I maintain that I am not. Hopefully, I’ll never be defined by an attitude of: “Bah Humbug.”
In fact, I really don’t think I have much in common with Ebenezer Scrooge even though I’m not a big fan of all the holiday activities associated to Christmas. According to the writings of Charles Dickens, who created the legend and the imagery, Scrooge despises Christmas and is defined by his cold heartedness. Although he is a very wealthy man, he declines an opportunity to make a donation to the poor, claiming they are better off dead. He also muses that the upside of that is decreasing the surplus population. Of course, before the story ends, Dickens orchestrates a change of heart for Scrooge by his seeing the error of his ways. He subsequently comes to be defined by his generosity.
I love the reason for the season, but the season also serves as a trigger for other memories that are not nearly as pleasant. Consequently, I have to emotionally ease myself into Christmas. I think I must be making some progress at being more adept and comfortable with the issue the older I get. The last couple of years, on the day following Thanksgiving, I’ve been the one ready to decorate for Christmas. Of course, I do that knowing it will all be disassembled and put away before the end of Christmas day. That, too, is non-negotiable. That is one of the lines I’ve drawn in the sand.
Speaking of drawing a line in the sand, we’ve never decorated the outside of any home in which we lived. My logic is sound. If it is meant for us to have icicles hanging on the fascia board outlining the roof of our house, it will have to be weather driven. I’m not hanging exterior lights to make it look that way. You can etch that resolve in stone as well.
Theoretically, I can only imagine that outside lights are easy to install when the outside temperature is pleasant. By the time it is seasonally appropriate to take them down, the chill in the air would be less than idea. Consequently, I’m not going there. Besides that, men my age would be better served staying off of ladders.
The General usually opts to go all out in decorating the interior of our home. More often than not, she assigns me the task of packing away all the stuff displayed on top of our upper kitchen cabinets in order to display the Christmas village stored in our garage. Okay, so it’s a nice look, but it represents a lot of effort.
This year, I was relieved when the General announced she wasn’t going to use the Christmas village. She also opted out of using the large artificial Christmas tree that we’ve used for the past several years. Frankly, as far as trees are concerned, it’s really a nice look. When she said she wanted to use the “skinny Christmas tree” that she added to our menagerie of artificial trees last year, I was surprised. I hadn’t heard that anyone was orchestrating an ugly Christmas tree contest. From my narrow perspective (skinny Christmas tree), we’d be easily postured to win that contest.
On the other hand, it is her intent to use the skinny tree to display the State of Texas collection of ornaments purchased from the State Capitol. The ornaments are pretty impressive. Maybe she knows what she’s doing. Of course, she wanted to wait and ask Jake, our seven-year-old grandson, to help her. He helped last year and she anticipated he would want to this year as well.
Truthfully, if it was left up to me, the only things we’d display in our home related to Christmas is the Nativity scene. We have several and they portray the reason for the season. Consequently, I think displaying three or four of those scattered through the house would be ample.
It probably was a thought outside the realm of possibility, but since we weren’t using the Christmas Village or the large Christmas tree this year, was there any possibility we were leaving the dining room sideboard undisturbed? It is the place where we display our Wedgewood crystal collection. That, too, takes some effort to move and store to make room for the General’s Twelve Days of Christmas collection of plates. I almost didn’t ask because I liked fostering the fantasy that we were going to forgo the need to pack the crystal away. When I finally got up the nerve to ask, I was wrong in my assumption. Of course, we were going to display the plates.
So far our decorating has included the Twelve Days of Christmas plates and three Nativity scenes. One of the nativity sets is really unusual. It is hand-carved and was given to us by the General’s sister and brother-in-law. It was made in Africa and they purchased it while they were living in Angola. Another set dates back to 1981 or 1982. It was given to us by Henly Baptist Church and we have displayed it every year since. The third set is one that we gifted to ourselves because we really liked it. In fact, we have given the same set to a number of family members across the years.
As November comes to an end, we look forward to and anticipate Christmas. Hopefully the focus will consistently prove to be the reason for the season and not filled with holiday crowds, traffic, shopping and all those things that create stress. This year Christmas falls on a Sunday. Truthfully, that always fills me with joy because folks carve out the time to truly remember the reason for our celebration.
All My Best!