Dial-it-in Christmas decorating

It may have been a world record for Christmas decorating. In fact, I think it took longer to get the boxes out of the attic than it did to get ornaments on the tree and the holiday nick-knacks dispersed about the house.

I’ve nearly foregone Christmas just so I wouldn’t have to drag those dang boxes down the rickety attic steps. Nothing is worse than hitting your head multiple times, stumbling over luggage and nearly toppling out of the opening, only to be told: “No! That’s a box of Thanksgiving stuff! We need Christmas!”

But once it was all down, decorating became a slapdash race this year. Even more so than previous years. At times, it looked more like net-casting or leaf-blowing than decorating.

Maybe it was the weather. It felt like 120 degrees outside as I strained in the sun to put Christmas light icicles around the front porch and not get impaled on the bougainvillea. My wife reported to her aunt in Long Island that it was a very Florida Christmas: “We’re all in shorts, the doors are open and we’ve got the AC running.”

Maybe that had something to do with the not-so-festive mood. The just-get-it-done approach. Like we were at the beach, not the North Pole.

Or maybe it had to do with the kid getting older. She was more nonchalant about the whole affair this year.

She stared in disbelief at Christmas decorations she had made as a little girl: “I did this?!?” she said, holding up a popsicle stick with what was supposed to be a Santa hat or a wooden ornament with a white paint splatter across it. “These are terrible!”

“Yep,” I said. “You were very little … and had no discernible talent for art.”

This year, neither she nor her mother wanted to put that sort of decoration out. “How about we just limit the ornaments we put on the Christmas tree,” my wife said at one point, before asking me, “Are you OK with that?”

Are you kidding me!?! That’s the best Christmas present of all. I say put up one strand of Christmas lights, a sprig of garland, and call it done!

We had the tree up and the house decorated in the blink of an eye. Somehow, some way … it actually looks good. The Christmas music is playing. The whole house smells like a North Carolina forest. There is an always-replenished bowl for candy canes.

Maybe it’s not the decorating that gets you in the mood. That’s the part that always ruins mine. But instead that feeling you get afterward when you look around and it starts to all sink in. It’s Christmas! Even if it is 89 degrees outside and you’re staring at a popsicle stick with a crooked Santa hat thinking, “Come to think of it, this might be the most beautiful Christmas decoration I’ve ever seen!”

Also published on Medium.

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