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.