In the aisles, Christmas decorations were strewn around. Broken ornaments, unwoven spools of ribbon, and dead tree branches made it seem like an angry Christmas Eve mob had plowed through the store days earlier, in search of last-minute holiday decorations.
Regardless of the mess and my husband's mood, I plowed ahead. I loaded our cart with all kinds of things as I picked through the wreckage. Package of blue glass ornaments that were not broken? Check. Strands of garland that had not been ripped or flattened? Got those too. A nine-foot pre-lit tree still in the box? Score! Despite feeling like a holiday vulture, I was pleased with the bounty we scored. As we packed the car so tight that Scotty had to sit with a package of brightly colored balls on his lap, I realized that our $300 would have cost us $1200 earlier in the month.
Gotta love clearance.
If you've been a blog reader for over a year, you'll remember that the Christmas decs spurred the need for overhead shelving in the garage. Which in turn caused Brian to drill through a water pipe in the process of hanging the shelves. So any money that we saved buying items on clearance was subsequently spent on an emergency plumber, but I stand firm that my December 26th shopping spree was still a good idea.
And this year, as we took down the new decorations from their home in the garage, I really did feel like a kid on Christmas morning, since I couldn't remember what we had bought. There were some good surprises ("Oooo! The snowflakes have glitter on them!") and some bad surprises ("It appears our pre-lit tree is in fact, not pre-lit.") So while Brian googled the equation to find the surface area of a 9-ft cone, I gently unpacked all of the ornaments, garland, lights, and assorted stuff in great anticipation of turning our house into a merry, jolly wonderland of holiday fun.
And then I realized that trimming a tree - or three, in our case - is about as much fun as going to the dentist.
It's kind of like how I feel about cleaning: I hate the process, but love the results. I don't know who really enjoys putting up Christmas decorations. Sure, it looks all cute and fun on Facebook, but in reality, my house looked like Christmas had thrown up on it for two solid days. We had so many boxes in our living room that my mom was forced to remove the Bear from the house because it was really a toddler hazard.
(they went on a long walk).
Brian and I found our marriage tested as he inexplicably strung eight boxes of lights on six total branches of the tree. We only had twenty boxes to use, and the tree instructions said there should be no more than 1,000 lights on the tree at any given time. When I came downstairs after stringing the garland on the banister, I found him hunched over six incredibly well-lit, though extremely flammable branches.
He had been working diligently without a break for almost two hours.
It's one of those moments in a marriage when you think to yourself, "Do I correct him or let this one slide? Pro: I won't be nagging at him. Con: the house will likely burn down this holiday season. Okay, looks like this is a battle I'm going to take..."
Needless to say, he wasn't happy with me.
But at least we won't be homeless, either.
With that said, I present to you the three trees of our household. It took two days, 1,500 lights, yards upon yards of garland, and three adults to complete.
Tree #1: the Formal Christmas Tree
This is the "don't-touch-tree-or-you-will-go-to-time-out-tree." That applies to both Brian and Scotty.
This is a polite way of saying, this is where all of Scotty's handmade ornaments will one day hang. No offense to the little Bear, but shiny balls don't really mesh well with pine cones dripping with Elmer's glue and glitter. Maybe I'm a bad mom for not wanting handmade ornaments on my formal tree, but...I don't want handmade ornaments on my formal tree. Sorry.
Please note: this tree also houses many old ornaments, such as the ones given to me by my grandma, as well as "milestone" ornaments -- one that we received the year we were engaged, several that say "Baby's First Christmas," and several photo ornaments with pictures of family members. I'm not totally made of stone, okay?
Among our finds of last year, I stumbled upon this adorable little four-foot pre-lit tree (that actually was pre-lit, thankfully). As we pulled out ornaments this year, I couldn't help but note how many Packer-related pieces we owned. Not wanted to mar my formal tree, and it's not really "homemade" enough to qualify for Tree #2, I had the inspired idea of making a "themed" tree. I knew Brian would buy in as soon as he heard it was football-related, and we had enough gold and green balls to coat the empty spots. And thus, the Packer tree was born.
Thank you Mom!!!