A lot of Christmas Gifts
Around our house, the day after Thanksgiving and the one after Christmas are predictable. Except for this year.
In my rush to avoid Christmas, a few traditions got trampled underfoot. The biggest ones had to do with seasonal decorations.
In the Hughson house, the day after Thanksgiving means decorating for Christmas.
It involves lugging dozens of boxes in from the garage, emptying them and refilling them with non-seasonal knick-knacks.
Two things interfered with that this year:
Selling our house
A vacation to Mexico
The extent of decorating my house: I pulled a centerpiece my mother bought me several years ago off the top shelf of a rack in the garage. I unwrapped it from its garbage bag and placed it in the center of the dining room table.
I removed the autumn leave centerpiece and table runner and put them away in the laundry room.
Of course, this lack of decorations affected today’s traditional UN-decorating of the house and tree. There was nothing to take down – not even a string of Christmas lights (which are my favorite decoration of this holiday season).
What are your holiday traditions? Have circumstances altered or derailed these traditions?
Some of you will call me Scrooge. Some of you will second my sentiment. A handful of you might gasp. Others may nod (unless someone is watching). The truth is: I hate putting up a Christmas tree.
I heard the gasps. Really. I prefer it to the tirade I received from my youngest son a few years back when I said I didn’t want to put up a tree. In all fairness, he lectured his dad for wanting to put up an artificial tree, so it’s about more than having a tree to sonny boy.
My son loves the tradition involved. This is what he remembers: the first Saturday in December, we bundled up in warm coats and mud boots and headed to a local Christmas tree farm.
Wandering through the rows, they would point out possibilities. I had the final say. Some people think I’m picky about the tree.
Such a conclusion was probably formed when I frowned at the fat Douglas fir tree my husband brought home one Christmas. I told him – I like Noble fir trees. Was this a Noble? A tree is a tree, he says. He never made that mistake again.
Back to the story at hand: when we found the perfect tree, my husband would saw along the base of the tree. We would cart it up to the cashier (there was no “cart” but my husband is a pro at walking it beside him).
Unlike those people who drive around with a tree strapped to the top of the car, ours goes in the back of the truck. In fact, I feel that one of the reasons my husband keeps our rarely-driven truck is just for hauling a tree. And other hauling emergencies, of course. Like when we cleaned out the garage. Did I mention the truck is seldom put to use?
What was I writing about again? Oh, right, the idea of not having a Christmas tree.
It’s so much work to move the furniture around to make space for the tree. Dragging out all the lights and ornaments is another hassle. What I hate the most? Decorating it. No, un-decorating it (is that a word?) is worse.
Let’s just agree that decorating (or un-decorating) the tree isn’t my favorite thing. The same son who throws a tantrum at the thought of having no tree disappears when time for dressing the tree in all its sparkling finery approaches.
Or he puts a dozen ornaments on the branches in the middle and calls it done.
If I’m going to have a tree, it’s going to be done right. Glaring gaps are strictly forbidden. Two ornaments the same color hanging directly next to each other is a gaffe. All sides must contain equal disbursement of embellishments.
Since I have standards, a few people who live in my home think I should do the decorating myself. I’m happy to remind them that I would gladly choose to have no tree at all. More grumbling and complaining and another flippant attempt to trim the tree.
Last year, I just let it look ridiculously unbalanced. No one mentioned it. Of course, I could only bear to look at the thing in the dark.
Here I freely admit that I would miss having a tree for one reason. I like to get up early in the morning, plug in the tree and then just sit in the darkened room sipping coffee and watching the lights twinkle, reflecting off the different ornaments and painting patterns on the wall.
How do you feel about having a Christmas tree? Is there a specific aspect of Christmas that you strive to keep the same every year, as a matter of tradition?
People set their alarms for 3 am on this day after Thanksgiving. I didn’t even turn mine on.
People line up outside of retailers, shivering and soaking, to find the best deal on the newest gadgets. Maybe they just want to stock up on socks.
It’s the biggest shopping day of the year. Supposedly, people are spending all this money on Christmas gifts.
Why do they call it “Black Friday” anyway? This name holds a portent of evil for me. Any day called “Black” must be bad.
I think the name might be from the point of the retailers. They are going to “be in the black” after they sell out their stock. Too bad those shoppers won’t be able to say the same thing.
Maybe they call it “Black Friday” because the sales all start when it’s still black outside.
I know for certain I won’t be darkening the doors for any of these sales. I believe I went to one store about 15 years ago (for the socks) and since I went at a reasonable hour (10 am), most of the stock was depleted.
That was enough for me. It proved to be a total waste of time.
Mr. Wonderful went out several times when he was hoping to purchase a game system for our kids or some new release games and movies for an ultra-low price.
Most of the time, he struck out too. He didn’t line up outside the store. He pulled up at 6 am when the doors opened. By the time he got inside, the crowd-drawing items were sold out.
He even stood in line for over an hour one time to purchase two games. Crazy, isn’t it?
Now, he’s all about Cyber Monday. I’m happy to let him do the shopping. I do the wrapping once everything arrives on our doorstep.
My idea of holiday shopping: filling my online shopping cart with gift cards from Amazon. It’s a gift that would delight me. It’s even on the list I received from my niece, and I know my nephew happily spent the one I gave him last year.
When it’s black outside, I’m asleep.
My plans for Black Friday are the same every year. Clean the house and put out the Christmas decorations. Eat Thanksgiving leftovers (usually with my in-laws).
In this way, I can answer the Capital One query: “What’s in your wallet?” The same amount of cash as the day before, thank you very much.