Every year, usually the weekend just after Thanksgiving, our home becomes encased in this sort of pupa shell and a couple days later it emerges as this beautiful Christmas butterfly. What goes on inside that cocoon during that time isn’t pretty, but the result puts a smile on my face every time I walk through the door.
I’ve already professed my love for Christmas in an earlier post here, but what I didn’t make abundantly clear was my wife’s own affinity for celebrating the holidays. Over the years the number of boxes stored in the attic that are stuffed with decorations has reached the 30+ mark. The day we wrestle the boxes down has been affectionately labeled GRUNT DAY. Just the creative stacking necessary to still allow us to pull our car into the garage is remarkable. I’ve always feared that one day the attic floor would give way under the weight of all those boxes and something resembling Christmas vomit would cover of the house below.
Aside from the humongous tree in the living room, there are four other mid-size ‘theme’ Christmas trees scattered around the house, and that’s not including the tiny ones in the kids bedrooms. There’s a teddy bear tree, a precious moments tree, an LSU tree with purple and gold lights, and one that gets re-invented every year. But I would stack our main tree up against any challengers, those impressive enough to be featured on a hallmark card or on some sentimental advertising campaign. With enough lights to illuminate a small town and inter-mixed with various kinds of garland, we’ve learned from past experiences to plan for disaster and tie the top of the tree to the wall to prevent it from falling. Ornaments, each imbued with special meaning for everybody in the family, top off the grand display.
Adornments are intricately placed everywhere throughout our home. No nook, cranny, corner, or crevice is spared. There are knick-knacks that dance and play tunes, or tiny reindeer that drop milk chocolate whoppers out of their backside. One of almost 50 holiday themed CD’s blares throughout the house during the day (Transiberian Orchestra is our favorite) and every night a different Christmas movie is played. Our abode is literally filled with Christmas, and the effect is nothing short of magical.
Of course we don’t neglect the exterior of the house. Icicle lights hang from the gutters demonstrating our longing for the real thing. Tiny sparkling deer nibble on the grass in the front yard and flickering candy canes line the driveway. A large lighted wreath hangs from the eave above the garage, which can be seen all the way from the end of a very long block.
On that first night after the strands have been hung, when we’re all standing in the middle of the street admiring our efforts, only the glow of the lights brightening our smiles, we can feel a small piece of what Christmas really means.
It’s not just our surroundings that change during this time of year. We all smile a little easier. Laugh a bit louder. Volunteer our time and support more frequently. Forgive transgressions more readily. Most of us transform into a better version of ourselves during Christmas, and it’s not because we’re reminded that Santa’s watching.
That’s the part I choose to celebrate.