Last year, we started a tradition of putting up the Christmas tree at Thanksgiving. I can’t remember if it was the Sunday after, when we returned from visiting family out of state, or if it was the Wednesday before. I just remember that it worked out really well. It was to become a tradition. Only… we kind of blew it this year.
We succeeded in getting the Christmas tree – but not the ornaments – down from the attic Monday morning before school. I honestly don’t know what possessed us to do that on the first school morning after a holiday. Maybe I felt guilty for not doing it the day before. Or maybe we thought it’d increase the chances we’d get the tree up that evening.
Well, it didn’t. Hal asked if we were going to but the night was just too full. As was the next day, what with a trip to the nearby metroplex for a doctor’s visit, an orchestra concert, and basketball practice. Wednesdays are always full and Thursday was a Christmas party. Then we were iced in – surely we’d get it done with everyone home from school Friday and the town’s Christmas parade delayed a week.
But the next day was to be Daddy’s big sale and there was still so much to do to prepare. Then Mommy got sick and we spent the day trying to find a doctor willing to write a prescription. All the florists, retailers, and fast food joints were open – just not the doctors or urgent care centers.
The weekend was full with the studio sale and a volleyball championship game and church. The following Monday looked promising but since my sister-in-law and her boyfriend were preparing to move out-of-state, they stopped by to visit and shower the kids with gifts.
Hal asked on Tuesday when I picked him up from school. It’d now been over a week of asking – every day.
“I really don’t think we’ll be able to do it tonight,” I said. “Maybe tomorrow, but I kind of doubt it.”
Tuesday night was already booked with Destination Imagination practice for both of the older kids, a meeting at church for both adults, Boy Scouts, and basketball practice. Oh, and my sister-in-law and her boyfriend were now spending the night at our house since the last of their stuff was now loaded in the POD.
Wednesday fared no better with bell choir practice, Christmas pageant rehearsal, and a volleyball team shopping spree for the elderly women they had adopted.
“Maybe tomorrow,” I said.
But Thursday night, we had to finish Daryl’s costume for the Christmas parade and then there was basketball practice again. Also, some investigations at Lowe’s for flooring solutions in our never-ending remodeling project that some people would call the master suite.
As Thursday revealed itself to be another non-Christmas-tree-assembly day, Hal asked me a question.
“Mommy? Do you remember that day that’s not tomorrow when we put up the Christmas tree?”
At first, I thought he was referring to last year, when we got it all right. Then I realized that he was begging me to not tell him, once again, that we’d put up the tree… tomorrow. See, tomorrow never seems to come.
He soon began to bargain, reduce his standards. “Can’t we just put up the tree and one ornament? Just one ornament? I have one. Sissy took it but I know where it is.”
When we drove past the uber-neighbors’ house – the one with icicle lights on the fence, lights on the house, and a lit, decorated tree in the front window, he said, “See! Everyone else has their Christmas tree up! Why are we the only ones that don’t?”
I assured him that we weren’t the only ones, but he wasn’t convinced.
Friday night availed itself with the cancelling of the Christmas parade due to rain. But we took the opportunity to have a rare family movie night and then it was time for bed.
I felt terrible as my husband and I sat there planning out how much flooring we needed for the bedroom and bath. I was sure that we were slowly suffocating the Christmas spirit in our youngest child. Saturday wasn’t looking too promising. More Destination Imagination and basketball, not to mention a birthday party, meant I would be driving all over town all day long.
The only solution was to make sure we put up the tree so he could put his one decoration on the tree before all the craziness started. Before we left the house at 8:45 in the morning.
I cleaned off the dining room table, collapsed it to its smaller size, and scooted it away from the front window. I swept and mopped. And when Hal came out of his room the next morning, I declared, “Who wants to put together the Christmas tree?!”
We put it together, just the two of us, while listening first to Christmas classics on Pandora, and then to a cooperative viola practice by the older siblings. It turned out to be a pretty special, albeit still quick and a tad bit rushed, morning.
And then he went to go get that one ornament he’d been talking about. He’d said it was his and his sister had taken it. I found him in her room, standing on a chair, taking a porcelain cross down off the wall. The cross that he had given her to put with her collection of crosses.
“Oh, no, dear! That’s not an ornament and it’s not yours anymore and you aren’t allowed in her room without permission.” He began to cry.
Luckily, there were two paper Santa ornaments that he and Daryl had made a couple of weeks earlier. He placed them on the tree with great care. He’s still on my case about getting the tree fully and properly decorated, but at least we got started. And I won some bonus points, after getting the boxes of ornaments out of the attic, when I took out a large nativity scene and set it up by the TV.
Maybe tomorrow we’ll get the lights and ornaments on the tree. Maybe tomorrow.