Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Traditions: part two

After the tree, the wife puts up the garland, purchased from a family friend. They cover the outdoor railings and will probably be up until they turn a little brown… and the nettles fall off merely from someone looking at them briefly. I’d say around April. She also puts up the indoor garland (meaning fake) on the china cabinet.

We also set up our Advent wreath and candles. Some times we even do it on the first day of Advent. Occasionally, we even light them up on the right days.

With a tree in place, out come the boxes of decorations. I prefer to buy a new set of ornaments each year or every other year. Perhaps five years ago I found a nice set of small lanterns that evoke a Victorian house light. I only picked up four… should have picked up six, especially since I broke one this year.
“Daddy destroyed one, Mamma… but it was an accident.”
The boy wanted to pick up the broken glass, and he loves to maintain his reputation as a Really Useful Engine. Daddy, however, prefers to diminish his reputation as a “careless jackass” [the boy just said, "That's you, Daddy,"] and as a “toddler injuring moron”. (About a year ago, he fell down… head first… on to a die-cast caboose… in his hand… as he was running… pretending to be Sheriff from “Cars”… chasing me as Lightning McQueen. That’s three stitches.) He didn’t touch a thing… but I still broke one of my favorite ornaments.

Anyway, we put on The Rat Pack Christmas album (with Sinatra’s “Mistletoe and Holly”) as well as the Brian Setzer Orchestra’s Christmas album (with a great rendition of “Oh, Holy Night”). Between the D&B and I (with plenty of coaching and offers of help from the boy) we get the lights up. For the first time in many years (probably since I was a kid) my tree has multicolored lights. Typically, we have all white as it goes great with our cranberry colored string of beads. The boy wanted multicolored lights… and they look nostalgic.

For the first time ever I decided to bedeck the fake garland with ornaments. I didn’t want to put up the homemade ornaments this year… no offense to my nephew, but they really are not holding up anymore. The wife insisted, so I suggested the china cabinet. They look nice. Not only that, a few other decorations and it really looks nice.

My other favorite ornaments include Spider-Man hanging upside-down, a pair of long and dangly pieces with cranberry and gold bits that look like earrings worn by Goliath’s older sister for prom in 1987, and an old sailing ship in a globe. We also have a very nice wooden Father Christmas, a pyramid of tiny martini glasses, a swanky reindeer in a pin-stripe suit and a cigar, and a swanky reindeeress in a fur wrap. We also have a red English phone booth… and we’re looking for a blue police box, too. With luck, and a little more patience than I exhibited this year, they will all last until the boy reaches eight.

We prefer to put up a few ornaments at a time so we can gradually build up a nice looking tree over the span of a week. Fortunately, that tradition works well and it helps to cut down the frantic rush to get everything perfect in one night. However, it does tend to mean that a couple of ornament boxes sit around.



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