Operation Christmas Lights…

Christmas is a time for joy, right? For wrapping, baking, the simple things? So why do I always dread these tasks?

Maybe it’s because by the time the house is cleaned and ready for decorating, I’m pooped. By the time I get home from work and the dishes are done and dinner’s cooking, I’m ready for a nap…

Sad to think how much of the holidays are often just about survival.

Much of the decorating has shifted to my two daughter’s shoulders – and I’m glad for it. Glad they’ve taken on hanging the lights outside and locating the perfect tree from our woods. I should feel… guilty? Bad? Rotten? Instead, I feel relief.

It started a few years back.

“When are we going to hang the lights, Mom?”

A simple question with a simple answer.


“But it’s the week before Christmas.”

My argument fell on disgusted ears. And so, they took it upon themselves and hatched a plan. One their father and I wouldn’t discover until the next morning.

Off to bed they went with nearly a whine. I should’ve known something was up, but I was just too tired to notice.

While my husband and I sat all cozy in our rocking chairs watching Survivor, our two wee ones were in their rooms prepping for Operation Christmas Lights.

They’d hang the lights on the front porch by themselves.  A great plan, except they realized they couldn’t get to the mud room without us hearing. No coats or mittens? No problem. They loaded on layers of sweaters till they looked like Santa himself. For mittens, they improvised and used socks.

Then they’d sneak out the bedroom door, plow through waist-high snow and hang the lights. If you knew where we lived; how dark it gets at night; how scary the woods are that close in around this house…. brrrrr…… I rarely wander outside after dark and here they were tackling the decorating alone and in the cold…

We didn’t discover their surprise until the next day. Both girls wore early with massive grins and poorly concealed giggles. Both tried to appear nonchalant as they casually asked if we’d looked outside yet.

Imagine our astonishment when we discovered those lights, strung from high rafters, looping around posts and framing the door.

No longer could they contain the giggles; they burst out laughing and explained the entire operation.

“We could peek in and see you in your rockers.”

“Yeah,” added the oldest, “we kept trying to be quiet – but you never turned around.”

A new tradition has begun for our family. Though they don’t have to sneak out, the kids still are in charge of decorating the front porch.

Sarah took it on this year alone. Her sister simply wasn’t in the mood.

And so I leave for you a picture of her endeavors, her project, her joy.


Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays to you all.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 11 Comments

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11 thoughts on “Operation Christmas Lights…

  1. Karen

    What a wonderful story! Love it!

    • They were SO cute when they shared their story the next day – I still remember how amazed I was that they would tackle this on their own!

  2. That is so sweet, and a great big heart to top it off. I know I feel the same, back in November I had it all planned, all the food I was going to bake, all the decorations we were going to hang, and the fun stuff I would do with the kids … since then I kept putting it off, putting it off… imagine my surprise when I realized there was only two weeks left till X-mas. GAH! Oh, well, I guess we’ll have to make the best of it. Ps; We’ve had our x-mas tree for over a week now, and it’s still undecorated. Honestly, my daughter doesn’t mind in the slightest, in fact she keeps putting her rat Charlie in it so she can have a sleep.

    • You know, I have no excuse for my lack of decorations- my kids are all grown, but yours are so little! I can well remember the amount of work it was to maintain the home, prepare for the holidays and take care of my babies. Loved that last part – about the rat in the tree! Hope the rat is a stuffed animal?

      • Not stuffed 😉 Real life rat lol. Thank you for all the encouragement, it is hard, and a lot of people think staying at home with the kids all day is a piece of cake, and although we don’t have the morning and evening rushes like working parents, staying at home all day is not easy either. How many times have people said to me, “oh you’re at home, you have time to read, and write …” and I cringe. This is actually the first year that I have two hours 3x a week to myself, only because my daughter is 4 now, and goes to pre-k part time, and during those times my son has a nap. Otherwise, I’m entertaining, cooking, and cleaning. It’s not the most difficult job in the world, but it is taxing, the constant discipline, new ways to play so mommy isn’t bored out of her skull. I must say crafts have taken their toll. lol And although it my not be the most difficult job in the world, it is, for me the most important.

      • I agree – such an important job – and with any “extra time” you have – it’s hard sometimes not to feel guilty spending it on things that matter to YOU. Ah, but it will change as your babies grow… soon, too soon, you’ll have one that’s driving… turning 17 and another a freshmen in high school. Give your little ones a hug for me, because THAT changes a bit, too!
        As to the rat – gotta laugh! We had a guinea pig – named blossom. The girls used to put Breyer horse saddles on her. Silly kids!

  3. What a sweet story! I completely understand how tiring it can be. I always feel like I need to clean up before I put up the decorations inside. You know, they ARE going to be there for a bit. 🙂 It was quite a few years ago that the boys stopped helping me decorate the tree. I kept up with it, however, one year, I thought, they don’t help anymore so I might as well not decorate the tree either. We all missed it. It was quite depressing, at least I thought so. Now, I decorate as little or as much depending on how I feel because I want to. Your family has a tradition started by your girls that they will look fondly on for years to come. How sweet indeed! 🙂

    • The holidays come with expectations – sometimes ones that far exceed our ability to meet. It would be a sad Christmas without some of the traditions – like the decorated tree – but maybe they learned a lesson??? If not, it sounds like you did.
      Hope you are having a wonderful holiday season. Merry Christmas to you!

  4. free penny press

    Love this story.. this is the first year in many I will not be hanging up outside lights (I sold my home and am in an apt :-(.. But yours are pretty so i’ll just admire that sparkly heart!!!

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