November 30, 2008

Damn Those Reindeer

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It was ordinary--which is always nice. It was filled with the usual, you know: family, food, fun. We ate too much, played some games, and didn't deal with any in-law drama.

So now comes the Christmas season. It's a lot of work for such a small amount of time, but I have always enjoyed it. I love to decorate normally so having a good reason for it makes it fun. But I am a lot slower at getting things situated this year. I don't know why I'm not done yet, but I've narrowed it down to a couple of theories:

1. I have a lot more stuff than I used to have. When you get excited that 18-gallon totes are on sale at Home Depot, you're collecting too much holiday stuff. There was a point in my life when I didn't even own one of those totes. Now I'm exclaiming, "Dan, totes are 2 for $8!" across several aisles.

2. I have a two-year-old who insists on undoing any progress I have made. After flinging several non-breakable wreaths down from the attic while advising Kate to move out of the way of the flying evergreen, I lugged the aforementioned green and red totes down the rickety steps of the attic. (I have learned that wreaths roll well and could easily knock down an unsuspecting person that weighs, let's say, around 28 pounds, but I digress.) Opening the red lid, I recognized the little table-top Christmas tree my mom bought me last year at the end of the season and set it on the table. I then arranged its tree skirt, hung every tiny glass ball on pre-selected boughs, and strung tiny garland around it. Gently placing the gold star on top, I smiled at my achievement and turned to see what else I could find in my magical Christmas box. Seconds later, I turned to find the little tree on the floor, garland strung around my little girl's arms, star on top of her head. So much for my quest for holiday perfection.

3. Owning a home (rather than renting) shifts interior design attention to the exterior. Also, stupid neighbors think their plastic reindeer make good decorations. I think I hate plastic reindeer because of Joni Mitchell's song, River, which has the line: "They're putting up reindeer and singing songs of joy and peace; but I wish I had a river I could skate away on." When we dealt with the birth defect and eventual loss of our first baby a few days before Christmas in 2002, I sang that song every day. I still cry sometimes when I hear it, but it now serves me to remind me of what a great Christmas this year will be for us.) Anyway, I deserted my indoor decorating yesterday and headed outside with my retro ceramic lights and started to clip them to the gutter. I was done rather quickly. The rest of the decorating went rather smoothly, too, until I decided I needed "a little more light" on the far side of the house. Three stores and four hours later, I still couldn't find the kind of lights I wanted. It was now late, very cold, and I was aggravated. Defeated, I reluctantly turned off the lights, glancing over to the neighbor's plastic reindeer. They were shining brightly, taunting me.

Damn those reindeer.

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