Anticipating Christmas Morning

It’s the dead, dark middle of the night.  I lay here wide awake in eager anticipation of the morning.  The house is slumbering, the only sounds are the ticking of the clocks and the occasional roar of the heater coming on.  Visions of sugar plums, I imagine, are floating.  J-Dub just went to bed a little while ago after staying up doing what dads do on Christmas Eve:  screwing screws and fumbling through instructions entitled “some assembly required” when what that really means is, “assemble these million parts of nonsense with as few cuss words as possible”.  After all, it is Christmas and there’s no cussin’ on Christmas.  That’s probably a written rule somewhere.

Christmas present is different to me from Christmas pasts.  I now anticipate the morning, not to receive, but to see that little face light up with the giving.  The wonder.  The magic.  The joy of it all through the eyes of child.

I snuck out of bed and tiptoed into the dark to see what EK will see when she stumbles in bleary-eyed in the morning.  There is a massive dollhouse; one that I never imagined would be that big.  (I’ve got to get better at reading the fine print).  And somewhere is the Beauty and the Beast movie, her own personal request to Santa Claus himself when she hesitantly sat upon his knee and whispered her desire.

Here’s a little before/after.  The kids these days call this a Transformation Tuesday I believe, but I’m not sure whether I’m coming or going, much less what day it is for all that.

Last year’s Santa pic to this year.  She actually sat on his lap this year, but still wearing the same look of uncertainty on her face.

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Oh it’s fun really, isn’t it?  I need to remind myself of that often.  Having a little family of my own.  Creating and making our own traditions and memories.  I don’t want Christmas to be an elaborate affair.  A few gifts, with the emphasis on the true meaning.  This year, I followed this little mantra of gift giving:  something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read.

We began a Jesse tree for advent, working through the Bible stories leading to the coming of Jesus on that holy night.  I was sewing the ornaments with a little felt and embroidery thread.  We were gathering around a little tree in EK’s room reading the stores each night, but as in typical fashion, that kind of fizzled out.  I think I made it through the burning bush.  There’s always next year, right?

 I’ve got promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep.

We went and enjoyed the second annual cutting of the tree this year.  I walked the forest along with my family trying to find the “perfect” Christmas tree.  During the inspection of each tree, I composed a whole blog post in my mind about how “choosing a Christmas tree is like choosing a spouse” but as in typical fashion, I never got that posted.  But it’s a no-brainer.  You get it.  There is no perfect tree, just as there is no perfect mate.  But the moral of the story is: pick one you can live with.  Learn to love their quirks and eventually they’ll die.

Um, maybe that’s not the best moral, but it’s the truth.

DSC_2148Well I’ll sign off now and try to get some shut-eye before dawn rolls in.

Have a merry Christmas!!

Chopping Down the Tree

I’ve talked about it before, about this imaginary world inside my head.  Fantopia, it’s called.  It’s a fantasy utopia where my life is perfect.  It’s a nice place, until I try to merge Fantopia with Reality, then it’s just depressing.

Case in point:  Since we moved to the mountains, we thought it would be a fun, new family tradition to go to the forest and cut down a Christmas tree.  Can’t you picture it?  The fun, the family, the forest.  Just us and an axe and a small pine tree.

I have looked forward to this for a few months.  In Fantopia, where everything is perfect, we adorn ourselves in flannel grays and reds and caps with earflaps and we load up in the truck.  We sing Christmas carols on the way to the woods where we trek through the snow to find the perfect Christmas tree waiting just for our family.  We hold hands and encircle it, singing Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree, with wide smiles on our faces.  

Then we chop it down, while posing for a family picture that would later be sent out in Christmas cards to friends and family near and far.  After we get home, we drink hot chocolate while listening to Christmas carols on the radio, the house warmed with fire and love.  

In Reality, this is what happened instead:  We had no matching flannel grays and reds or hats with flaps, we barely found everyone’s jackets.  We loaded up in the truck, along with a pink ladybug potty seat, since EK hasn’t learned to squat in the woods just yet.  We drove way too far and way too long to find the perfect Christmas tree.  EK sat in her seat and complained the whole time, arguing with Ashlynn and fussing when she touched her carseat.   We trekked around in a little bit of snow, not finding a tree even close to perfect.

So we loaded back up in the truck and drove some more all the while analyzing trees.  Too short, too tall, too thin, too scraggly.  Let’s get out and check that one out.  Nope.  How about that one?  Nope.  Finally we agreed, more from exhaustion than satisfaction on a small little tree with a split trunk.  Thankfully EK had fallen asleep by this time and we were all breathing a sigh of relief,  but unfortunately the family photo op didn’t happen with her in it.

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Once home, we couldn’t find the tree stand because obviously I’d thrown it out in one of my decluttering stages.  After one run to Walmart for a tree stand, we discovered we didn’t have any working lights, so back to Walmart again.  JDub went to work on the tree.  He trimmed it up, cut it off, and dug out an old bird’s nest.  And then it took a good long while to put the tree in it’s stand without tipping over.

It is a monstrosity!  Here’s a tidbit:  A small tree in the forest is a big tree in your living room.  It may look small out in the big old wilderness next to behemoth pines, but indoors next to the Lazy Boy, it’s quite impressive.  It’s got one side that’s bare and one side that looks pregnant.  It’s crooked and crazy.  Some limbs grow up, some grow down.

Instead of the family joining together and decorating, I did it begrudgingly, realizing much too late that we should have said to heck with family traditions and put up the dadgum prelit Christmas tree sitting in the garage with its tree stand tucked safely in its green vinyl bag.

So while everyone in the world displays and enjoys their perfectly shaped trees with color coordinated ornaments, I give you our tree with no lights on the top because there’s no way I could have reached it even if I had enough lights to put on it, with its hodgepodge mixmatched ornaments from way back.  It’s not pretty, it’s not decorated well, the bottom strand of lights flicker on and off sporadically, and it sticks out nearly to the front door.

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But after all the hoopla, today I have to say it’s kind of growing on me with all its imperfections.  It’s like so many of us.  Messed up in all sorts of ways.  But that’s the way it was created, just like us.  So instead of looking upon it with contempt,  I embrace this messed up tree and rid myself of the perfectionistic attitude that society forces upon me as to what our Christmas tree should look like.

It is what it is.

And so am I.

‘Tis the season.