How Lovely Are Thy Branches

christmas_waveI love our tacky little Christmas tree. It’s an old artificial pre-lit tree, and for the first time, the lights failed this year. While Aubrey managed to get most of it working, there were still two strings that just wouldn’t light up. We wobbled back and forth on whether to run go get a new tree or just add a loose string of lights to this tree for now, and get a new tree next year so we don’t have to store it. We finally went with option two, so Ron put up some lights and it will definitely get us through this year. I’ll hit up a Black Friday sale next year.

Aubrey made quick work of decorations this year. Thanks to allergies, flu, and work schedules, none of us has had the energy to deal with even going through the boxes, let alone actually hanging things and setting out all the snow people, pillows, table toppers, and stockings. Aub got all the ornaments on the tree, dug out the stockings and holders, and arranged the few wrapped presents under the tree. Those are the ones that we get each other, whereas the “Santa” presents aren’t seen until Christmas Eve after everyone goes to bed. We all agreed to keep the decorations to a minimum so that I can have everything put away in time for me to leave on the 29th.

For the first time in ages, Aubrey is off on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Matt and Amanda (his girlfriend) both work on Christmas Day, so we had to figure out our windows of opportunity. Because no one wants to wait until dinner to open presents, Matt and Amanda are coming over crazy early for breakfast and unwrapping. It’ll be almost like they are five and ten again, up at the crack of dawn, peering into the tree and counting how many boxes they have.

Once I got into that whole Christmas spirit, time started flying. Magical boxes arrived almost daily from Amazon, Etsy, ebay, Staples, and Woot (which I discovered is now owned by Amazon). Ron and I wrapped for hours last weekend, as did Aubrey and I, so no Christmas Eve marathon of wrapping. I remember one year, we finished wrapping at around 3 am, and the kids woke up and started unwrapping at 6am. Ugh, all that work for three hours of sitting and ten minutes of tearing open. That was insane.

There was one year when I actually had my shit together. I started shopping in October and was done by the week after Thanksgiving. I even sent out Christmas cards on Black Friday. Then I just sat around and had nothing left to do. It was awful and I swore I’d never do it again.

I’ll never be the Martha Stewart or Hometalk kind of woman, with the designer tree, home made pillows, cutesy decorations everywhere. That’s just not me. I admire their end results, but I wouldn’t want to live in them. We are not monk-like lemon eaters, with no signs of life in any room. At any given time, there’s at least a pound (or two) of pet fur on the floor, coats everywhere, shoes strewn by the door…in other words, we live here.

However, today is our day of frantic cleaning. Ron is tackling the kitchen, and I’m supposed to be sorting through Christmas stuff (with the intent to give away a large portion on the 26th). Aubrey is wrapping the last of the gifts including a giant container of Jolly Ranchers for her quasi-boyfriend (that’s a whole ‘nother post!). We’re fighting the post traditional-Christmas-Eve-Chinese-lunch crash, and obviously I’m procrastinating by writing a blog post. Even so, enough will get done. Will it be perfect? No. Do I care? No.

To us, Christmas isn’t about decorations, lights, trees, or a clean and organized house, although yes, those are all great to have. It’s not even about the presents…it’s about us being together, doing all the same things that we’ve done every year, eating ourselves into food-comas…it’s about playing games and Matt whining about what he didn’t get and Ron whining about what he did get and Aubrey being happy with whatever. It’s about the watching the dogs with their new squishies, someone burning the cinnamon rolls, and me drinking too much champagne (although not this year thanks to an ear infection and amoxicillin). Our traditions are strong, and despite the kids being adults now, those traditions continue. I guess that IS what makes them traditions, isn’t it?

So do what you do, and do it with love. If you are a Martha Stewart kind of girl, rock it. Wear those antlers, eat too much, and do something with that stupid freakin’ elf if that’s your thing. Most of all, have fun. Enjoy your loved ones, especially the kids because they grow up way too fast. Either way…

Do what you do. And do it with love.

Happy Holidays to one and all.

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