It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like ….

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It’s the day after Thanksgiving or what we refer to as the day to get the house in Christmas mode.  OK, we don’t refer to it that way at all.  Its just another Friday but we aren’t going to be out risking death and destruction to buy some useless gadget just because a store claims to be offering a deal.  If you are a Black Friday shopper, more power to you.  We’re that house that gets the Christmas lights up early and leaves them up perhaps a bit too long.

I’ve mentioned on many occasions that winter does nothing for me.  It gets dark way too soon, everything is grey and dull and it is cold.  So Christmas lights and decorations make me happy.  It just takes a little of the dullness out of the season.  I know it gets way over commercialized with every retailer just trying to get you to depart with a significant chunk of your money.  It certainly can bring out the worst in people but I can put on my rose colored glasses and just kind of ignore that and look at the lights and feel festive and be happy.

Are you a minimalist when it comes to decorations?  We’re not.  I’ve got three mantles and they are all crammed full of Christmas type decorative items.  Not a lot of cohesion in any collection – mostly just random stuff I’ve picked up over the years.  Oh, a glass Christmas tree on clearance, I’ll take that.  A Snoopy doll with antlers that plays the Charlie Brown Christmas theme – yep, that’s got my name all over it.  And a lot are gifts.  Some from my parents – a decorative items was often a good default gift and some are from friends of my wife.  She goes to a little gift exchange with a couple of other people and, again, decorative items seem to be the theme.

Real or fake tree?  We always had a real tree growing up except for that one year where my Mom was in the hospital having my sister and the tree decided to die and start to rot so we had to toss it and get a bright, shiny aluminum Christmas tree.  This was many years ago and I don’t think you had the selection you did today.  It was really nothing more than a pole with some “branches” with silver fringe that could be placed up and down the pole.  Years later, we dug it out of the closet it had been assigned to and put it upstairs.  I mean even a fake Christmas tree needs work.  But, since we always had real, that is my preference.

For many years, we’ve gone to a local Christmas tree farm but we’ve usually just opted to pick one of the already cut varieties.  They do offer hayrides to cut your own but that’s more work than I remembered and many years it is cold so we need to minimize our time outdoors.  Of course, even though I went to a local place, we were getting trees from another part of the country.  This is kind of the no man’s land for evergreens.  You can plant them but, in general, only the Scotch Pine and White Pine do OK.  I’m partial to the Firs which have to be trucked in from outside the area.  Anyway, this year, there is a small hardware store just about a mile from us and I noticed they had the fir tree I’m partial to so we opted to just go there.  Seems like cheating but I’ve never been a fan of the long drive back with a tree tied to the roof of my car.

Our ornaments are a mixed bag as well.  Many were bought early in our marriage at after Christmas clearance sales.  No better way to build up your collection.  Think we bought a couple at stores that were going out of business.  But, when my parents decided it was too much work to put up a big tree and wanted to downsize, Mom offered us some of their ornaments.  I think I was the only taker.  So I’ve got some that they got from her parents.   They aren’t much to look at anymore but I still put them on the tree because of what they represent.  And, I tend to buy Christmas ornaments when we are on vacation.  Ornaments and refrigerator magnets (yes, I’m that kind of person).  And, you get some as gifts so they go up as well.

Did you ever refer to it as trimming the tree?  I’ve heard that phrase used but we never called it that.  It was always just simply decorating the tree.  Not sure whether that’s a regional thing or not but we’ve never used it.

So the house is now all ready for Christmas.  I’ve got lights up outside but there’s always a string that burns out so I’ve got a hole that I’ll need to fix.  Might be on the lookout for other things that can be plugged in since we now have a new outlet to use because we had some outdoor lighting installed and they created a nice outdoor plug.

The only pain of the season is shopping.  Not because I hate shopping (well I hate crowds for sure) but it is finding things for all my siblings.  I suppose we don’t need to exchange gifts anymore since we are all adults and can pretty much buy whatever we need.  So it is more a matter of sifting through catalogs and stores looking for things that speak to me.  Too often, nothing does.  The catalog just has lots and lots of pretty pictures of stuff but nothing that really seems to fit.

I did buy one thing today (well aside from the tree).  It seems that everyone has some kind of tie to Black Friday and even our State Fair was selling discounted tickets for next summer’s fair today.  That’s a deal I can’t pass up.  I know it is a long time from now but I can look at those tickets and dream about summer just a bit.

Well, that’s how I spent my day after Thanksgiving.  Not very exciting but it at least gives me a story when I go back to work on Monday and people ask how your Thanksgiving was.  See, everyone expects you to be with friends and family but it was just us and I’m tired of talking about that.  So I’ll just skip over that and go right into Christmas.

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