Friday, November 28, 2008

Holidays . . . How do you relax after the tree goes up?

By Lonnie Cruse

The holidays have finally officially arrived at our house . . . well, after much hemming and hawing by yours truly. Drag out the household decorations/don't drag out the household decorations? Put up the tree/don't put up the tree? Have the party/don't have the party?

Why all the hem and haw? Our tree from the last several years was huge (over seven foot) and it rotated--don't ask me how. (Yes, I bought the rotating tree stand, but no I don't understand how it worked.) To add to the problem, some of the pre-lit (pre-installed?) lights died and had to be replaced, plus last year the tree got caught in the curtains by the window as it rotated and several ornaments went flying, breaking one of my faves, sigh. Okay, I realize that was probably too much information. But if you are thinking about buying a rotating tree, think again.

Anyhow, a friend has been after me to host my annual ladies' luncheon/ornament swap. The luncheon is usually potluck, usually fairly fattening, and usually relaxed and fun. The ornament swap usually dissolves into a cat fight over who gets to go home with the best ornament, and I usually lose. But my momma didn't raise any dummies, so if I don't get the ornament I want, I find out who brought it and where they got it, and off I go on an ornament hunt. Where was I? Decorating for Christmas.

So, up goes the tree, but what to put on it, given that I've been collecting ornaments for forty-five years or so? Ornaments made by my kids, made by me, given to me, and whatever I could manage to hang onto at the annual ornament swap. No way this new tree would hold all of them without toppling over. No way I could go through all of them and weed some out. Time for plan B. Meaning use ONLY the vintage glass ornament balls I've collected the last few years along with the new bubble lights hubby got me last year.

I have some of the "vintage" bubble lights, by the way, but anything that old would be risky to plug in. And I'm particularly aware of the danger of lighted Christmas decorations this year, as is everyone in or near Paducah, KY, thanks to a three story tall, lighted Christmas tree that set the local Michael's craft store on fire. Thankfully no one was hurt but the store is still in pretty bad shape. And I'm still in mourning until they reopen. Sniff.

With the tree decorated, sans the rotating stand, out came my collection of snowmen to decorate the house, but I did scale back in that area by leaving most of my Santas in storage. Maybe they'll get their chance next year?

Anyhow, the Christmas sugar cookies have been purchased (I gave up baking and icing hundreds of them at a whack when the last bird flew out of my nest) my cinnamon coffee is snuggled in the cabinet ready for use, and I have two new Christmas themed books to read. Not to mention watching my favorite Christmas movies. All of this frivolity after I visit the chiropractor, of course.

So, once the tree is up, the other decos are out, the storage boxes are once again hidden away, the coffee is hot and the cookies are on a plate, the muscle relaxer is near at hand, what is your favorite way to recover from all the reaching, lifting, shopping, wrapping, baking? Read a good book? Listen to Christmas music? Favorite Christmas movie? More Christmas shopping trip? Praying for snow? All of the above?


Auntie Knickers said...

I'm not sure how much decorating I'll do this year, since I'll be leaving Dec. 17 to join my kids in Mpls. (and husband promises to arrive there by Christmas Eve). I think sitting down with some seasonal coffee or tea (or cocoa with a candy cane stirrer), reading a Christmas-themed book (even if it's Wolfsbane and Mistletoe or Dying in a Winter Wonderland, both of which I bought and am looking forward to), and listening to some Christmas music, is the perfect thing for me. I also have a lot of ornaments and sometimes do a themed tree, or more than one tree if I'll have guests in the guest room. I think your antique glass and bubble light tree sounds perfectly lovely (and if that's a photo of it, wow.) Giant tree disaster #2: we had a wind/rain storm the other night and the giant tree in L.L. Bean's Discovery Plaza in Freeport blew over. Luckily no one was hurt, no buildings sustained major damage, and they think they can reset the tree and it will be good as new.

Lonnie Cruse said...

Love the idea of a candy cane stirrer! And your books sound interesting too.

This seems to be the year of huge tree disasters, thanks for sharing. Have a great holiday with your family!

Unknown said...

Hey, Lonnie, I've been collecting vintage glass ornaments at garage sales and church sales, too. Hubby isn't too thrilled about all that "old stuff" (especially since we have about a million and a half ornaments anyway), but we have a LOT of branches on our 7' tree and you can layer them -- some near the trunk--it all shows. (I gave up putting up garland years ago--it covered too many branches and ornaments.) I love my tree. I'm thinking of putting it up either on Wednesday or Thursday. Thanks for helping me get in the mood!

caryn said...

I bake cookies-lots of cookies.
We don't fool with the tree until the middle weekend in December. We have an artificial tree because one of the kids is very allergic to pine, and it is huge. It's a hassle to get up and we've never settled on a good spot for it so every year it's somewhere different. Plus the cats climb the tree so I have to make sure the ornaments are wired on really well which makes them a hassle to take off...I love Advent and Christmas, but I'm really not overly fond of the tree hassle.
Our neighborhood has a luminaria night the Sunday closest to the winter solstice and one of the schools jazz bans wanders around playing carols and a feww homes have open houses that evening. That's nice.
Mostly though I prefer curling up and reading Christmas themed books. A group of us have a box of Christmas books-mostly mysteries that we pass around. We take some out, put some in, send it on. That's fun. The box usually makes 2 passes before New Years.

Lonnie Cruse said...

Lorna, happy to get you in the Christmas tree mood!

Caryn, the box of Christmas mysteries sounds terrific!