Monday, December 14, 2009

Deck the Halls

We got our Christmas tree on the weekend before last. We usually get a permit and spend an afternoon deep in the forest, decked head to toe in our snowgear, searching for the perfect Christmas tree. By December there is a lot of snow in the high country and it is one of our favorite family traditions. Sadly, this year it was not to be (and to be quite honest, last year also). Life is so crazy at the moment with Big P working on a hundred projects a second, so we decided that 2009 (and 2008) will be the years that we buy our tree.

The kids were just so excited that we were getting the tree they didn’t seem to mind at all. We baked cookies and sipped hot cocoa with whipped cream and sprinkles and listened to Christmas carols while they spent all afternoon rummaging through the Christmas box with much delight and excitement as they reminisced over all the ornaments and various Christmas decorations that had long since been forgotten about –a year is a long time for little children...

It was so sweet seeing their expressions as they discovered old favorite decorations and ornaments - *and* - to see them on their best behavior. Instead of fighting over a particular ornament that they both insisted on hanging, I heard JJ tell his brother:
“We must remember that the true meaning of Christmas is about helping others and being nice to others, so if you want to hang it, that’s okay, I’ll let you.”
…melt a mother’s heart. It made me so happy – moments like those are the true gifts of Christmas. It must be noted that the poor boy did not get much reciprocation on the whole “loving and sharing” Spirit of Christmas theme. His younger brother is too full of cheekiness and sarcastic (and hilarious) comments … although when he wants to be, he can be so sweet, like when he tells me throughout the day that he loves me toooooooooo much. But he does love to wind his big brother up, and he is such a card - I will be happily accept the spirit of who he is, in all his funny, sweet and sometimes growling glory, as his Christmas gift to me.

The kids did a great job with the tree. Of course, there is one high-density area smack bang in the middle of the tree which contains every single ornament that we own, and its dimensions are as tall as the tallest child and as wide as his arm span. The top and sides and back of the tree are completely bare, but compared to last year, when the kids seemed so much smaller, the decorations seem waaaaay more spread out.
Note: Bubs was put on official Clean Up Duty to distract him from diligently undecorating the tree as fast as his brother's could decorate it.

My initial thought was that I would wait until they went to bed and then redistribute the ornaments evenly and perfectly around the tree. And just for a second, in my head, I had visions of a perfect Pottery Barn style tree as the central focus of our immaculately decorated living room. The reality, however, is that I live with four male specimens. (Actually, eight male specimens since the Bubs causes so much chaos and destruction that he easily counts as four people). So, the reality of a Pottery Barn Christmas is just a dreamy illusion at this point. But I try to remember to embrace the chaos (although not always very gracefully, I am reluctant to admit). Because before we know it, the kids will be grown up and the house will be calm and orderly once more, and that will be the time for perfectly hung decorations and an elegantly decorated Christmas tree in an immaculate living room, but for now, as I gaze happily at our beautiful and disorderly Christmas tree, I can’t help but smile and my heart fills with joy as I think of the sweetness and love with which it was decorated.

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