… about the approach of winter that makes so many holiday memories with family and friends come flooding back. Some are good…and some definitely need the passage of time to dim in my memory and become less horrifying.
There was the first Christmas that my husband and I celebrated as newlyweds. He had just started law school. He was studying so hard, but he took a break on a Saturday so we could go buy our tree. We brought the tree home and he returned to studying as I attempted to string the lights. Never had done that before. Didn’t know that if you had more than one string, you had to make sure you had ends that actually could connect to each other. Enlightening thought. After multiple attempts (about seventeen million or so), I ended up crying in frustration as I held up the wrong end of a strand. It was not a good time for him to drop everything and help with the disaster, and he told me so. Big mistake. This escalated into “if you don’t have any Christmas spirit, then why are we doing this?” Sob, sob. He felt bad and straightened out the mess. Every year thereafter, when we string the lights, one of us always says “do you remember when…”
Another year, also early in our marriage, the already decorated tree shifted in the stand and came crashing down. It crashed other years, but this was the first. It is a vision that is hard to believe unless you have personally experienced it. I blinked my eyes a couple of times, willing the nightmare to go away. On the third eye blink, it was still there and I started picking up shattered ornaments. All you can do is redecorate the tree because everything on it has shifted about three feet in the wrong direction or missing. I was highly suspicious because not moments before, our two large German Shepherds had been nosing the branches. They flew to the other side of the room just as the tree was in mid-crash. “Wasn’t us, Mom! Must have been a stray dog that sneaked in!” I knew that wasn’t true. My first clue was the tinsel draped over two black noses.
We once had a Lab who continually stole Baby Jesus out of the Nativity set on the hearth. She never chewed him up, just carried him around carefully in her mouth before laying him to rest somewhere else. Whenever I noticed his absence from the manger, I would call a “Baby Jesus Alert” in the family and the search began!
We have had more help than we sometimes wanted when our tree was being decorated. There was the year our daughter wanted to hand us the ornaments. Three year olds are not known for great balancing skills around fragile objects. She backed up into one box, crushed two out of six ornaments, hopped out and backed into box number two and took out three more. It is amazing how much damage little, tiny pink shoes can do! As she levitated out of that box, I was able to grab her before the demolition got any worse!
Strings of lights to nowhere, crushed ornaments, crashing trees… it’s all about the memories we make. Be sure to tell your own stories every year and create YOUR family’s history. It will truly be the best gift you ever give!