Wednesday, December 4, 2013

a tale of two trees

last year i confessed to you my obsessive compulsive nature towards decorating our christmas tree. not long after i published that post i received an email from my aunt janet which included an idea to make future tree decorating more pleasant for everyone. once having had two young boys herself, and the longing for a beautiful tree, she described a way to incorporate both. she commented that decorating my christmas tree, taking care to hang the ornaments exactly how i see fit, can be the gift i give myself each year! she suggested asking harrison and graham to select one special ornament to hang on the tree - the very first ornaments that get hung, anywhere they want to hang them. this might be a way to honor them and include them in the decorating but then i could be free (guilt-free) to build an ornament-hanging plan around those two initial ornaments. i thought her ideas were great and would work well for our family, as opposed to what i had been doing, which was to freak out about it or just not let the boys help at all.

i have saved that email from my aunt all year. i have thought about it numerous times. i had planned to do exactly as she suggested.

but then something crazy happened.

i was not in the mood to decorate the tree. i wasn't even in the mood to get out the tree...or sort out the different branches...or put it together...none of it. my christmas spirit was running on empty.

but my boys had enough christmas spirit for us all and they wanted, needed, to put up the tree. 


and let me tell you something. it was the best christmas ever. they declared me the best mommy in the world. they worked together as a team. they were happy. they didn't fight. they had SO MUCH FUN.

do you want to see the result? here's the iphotographic evidence:

yup. they did this all by themselves. i was such a proud mama.

here's the play by play...

 i was starting to get a wee bit compulsive at this point. but i kept my mouth shut.

 i was starting to hyperventilate at this point. but i kept my mouth shut.

okay at this point i might not have been able to keep my mouth shut and i might have told graham he couldn't hang every single snowman puff ball in the same spot. so he moved one poor lonely puff ball off to the right.

 these five puff balls sure did have fun hanging out together though.

 and these six whitewithredpolkadot ornaments enjoyed being together on the front of the tree. graham likes to group the ornaments together. harrison took a more balanced approach.

i did put the bow on the top and wrapped the ribbon around. i also hung a few of my favorite ornaments, like this moose canteen from a trip to steamboat springs.

 this ski lift to remind us of our trip to crested butte.

 this royal tara porcelain ornament from my trip to ireland.

 graham's handprint ornament that he gave me last year.

i was so pleasantly surprised at the awesome job they did. i considered it a christmas miracle. 


harrison told me to turn on the lights.

and i told him there are no lights.

and he nearly cried.

people. i don't know what to say. this was not a mistake. i didn't forget the lights. i purposefully, secretively, chose not to string the lights and hoped to god they wouldn't notice. i didn't have enough christmas spirit to take the strands back and forth, weave them in and out and round and round and AAAAHHHH! so i just skipped over it.

i was this close to getting away with it too!

but when the sun set and the house got darker harrison asked "when are we going to put on the lights?" and i said "you have to put the lights on before the ornaments" and he assumed his grumpy, curlupintoaballandpout position and i honestly questioned whether or not i could just wrap a string of lights on top of everything.

but guess what i did instead...

oh yes. i clamped a light to the bottom of the tree. it cast a little glow. well, at least on the bottom 1/4th of the tree. 

in all honesty i was pretty dang proud of my ingenuity. i was patting myself on the back. high five for problem solving in a pinch!

but harrison still went to bed sad that night. 

so i did what all guilty-feeling moms would do...

the next afternoon we took all the ornaments off the tree and sorted them into piles all over living room. i dug the boxes back out from under the basement stairs, found the lights, wrapped the tree in them and let the boys hang all the ornaments again.

 here it is.

here it is all lit up.

here is the baby jesus. 

surely he prefers lying next to a softly glowing tree.

surely he is shaking his head at me and speaking to me things like...

see, they did such a lovely job decorating the tree. you don't have to be such a tyrant about it.

clearly, if you have enough ornaments it doesn't matter where you place them! it all looks the same in the end anyway!

honestly, child, why do you always have to make things harder than they need to be? couldn't you have mustered up enough of somethin to get those lights hung in the first place?

ha! a clamp light! nice try.

or probably more likely...

rachel, why do you always look for the shortcut? stop that. there is beauty in the long and narrow path. after all, it's not Christmas if you don't have the Light.


April said...

The boys did a great job decorating and you did a great job letting them! We have a tree with prestrung lights, I hated having to string the lights around the tree too.

Stacey said...

my least favourite thing about decorating the tree is stringing the lights. your boys did a beautiful job!