Neighborhood News & Notes
By: Tracy Doren
December 20, 2008

Whether we’re ready or not, the season of glad tidings seems to come more quickly than we expect every year, and with it come all those joyous tasks that make for a memorable holiday season.

This year, on top of all the Christmas events, I was able to complicate my life even more than usual by moving into a new house just a week before Thanksgiving.

Packing and unpacking more than 10 years’ worth of accumulated goodies from my previous life, then turning around to sprinkle a little Christmas decorating on top, is a sure recipe for chaos.

Anyone who has kids knows it’s a given that they’ll be expecting a decoration- and gift-laden wonderland to appear magically in the living room on Christmas morning.

What the kids don’t realize, I’d forgotten, is how much effort goes into the planning and execution of that transformation.

One glance into my garage, which is brimming over with boxes and excess furniture, offers the first clue to the disorder we’ve been living in since the move. Trying to organize the basic day-to-day essentials has now been put on a back burner because Christmas is here.

The kids don’t care that there are no hangers in their closets, as long we have the stockings hung by the chimney with care. The lights on the tree take precedence, in their minds, over the new fixture waiting next to the dining-room table that would illuminate our daily meal ritual.

The only box they care about finding in the sea of cardboard is the one filled with the ornaments with which they chose to adorn last year’s tree.

At first, all I wanted was to skip the whole Christmas-decorating thing and pray for the early arrival of January.
But watching the excitement of a five-year-old opening box after box of treasures from Christmases past, it became obvious that nothing was going to be sacrificed.

The truly magical part is watching as he pulls out each ornament and reminisces about Christmases past. It’s quite an experience to share nostalgia with one who thinks last July was a long time ago.

Even with the complexities of the holiday, I wouldn’t want to leave the impression that my life is in total disarray. Still, for those who remember me mentioning my vision-board project, I wouldn’t want to leave an impression that with my move I have become organized and efficient.

Rather, I have decided that leaving a few unopened boxes along the walls of the garage is not such a bad thing.
Choosing to take things as they come has proven to be a good way to enjoy the season. Allowing a five- and a seven-year-old to decorate the tree as they see fit has given us a perfectly delightful (even if a bit bottom-heavy) perspective on the season.

The Nutcrackers that previously served as dignified placecard holders have become soldiers for Santa’s army; one even lost an arm in the good fight.

A few of the more fragile ornaments have also become casualties of my avid young decorators, but that just means a few less things that will need to be returned to their boxes in January.

The décor this year is not the elegant Martha Stewart-approved genre, rather the more comfortable, easy style of, say, Charlie Brown.

His tree became part of an enduring legend. Maybe ours will, too.




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