The pre-lit 7-foot Christmas tree that worked perfectly last year, kept me buried in its branches for over an hour. I searched for lost electrical plugs hanging in its depths hoping to find a logical reason why all the bulbs wouldn’t light up. Branches slapped against my cheeks, scratched my arms, strained my aching back, and yes, the ultimate…broke a nail. Ulg!
For someone who likes everything in its proper place and in perfect working order, this process was a test of my nerves and patience. Tension rose and my face warmed. Tears threatened. Thoughts of throwing the tree out the back door crossed my mind more than once.
With a huff, I threw my hands in the air, surrendering to the unsolved mystery.
After stepping over stacks of half unpacked boxes and trying to work around my husband’s ladder and paint cans, I plopped on the sofa. That’s when it dawned on me that all the boxes containing Christmas decorations, along with my dishes and bakeware, were still four layers deep in a pile of boxes at the storage unit we’d rented while in transition. Sigh! Whimper!
You must understand, on a normal Christmas, I decorate the tree with every imaginable trinket, hang stockings from the mantle, display the manger scene, position Nutcracker figures on each side of the fireplace, place Christmas pillows and a matching throw on the chair and sofa. I love filling the room with Christmas novelties: Santa figures, Snowmen, lighted snow globes, and gifts under the tree. Need I say more?
Obviously, it didn’t take a genius to figure out that it was not going to be a normal Christmas.
The next day, nine of my twelve grandchildren arrived for their 16th Annual Christmas sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. They saw my dilemma and began searching through boxes. Alas, a small box marked “Christmas” emerged from the pile. Christmas stockings appeared, then a Ziploc bag containing a dozen small ornament balls. Only, these belonged on my miniature Christmas tree, but it, too, was in the storage unit.
Oh well, a few small ones might be better than none, so the grandkids meticulously hung them on the bare tree. Girls instructed boys on proper decorating – laughter erupted. They weren’t bothered by the half-lit tree, the bare mantle, or the television blocking the fireplace.
It was Christmas, and they were with their cousins at Grandma’s house. A place…
…where the smell of fresh baked cookies wafted their noses.
…where they’d cut, bake, and decorate their own cookies.
…where they’d be challenged by making a Christmas craft.
…where a Christmas puzzle needed their attention.
…where they’d throw sleeping bags on the floor to watch Christmas movies.
…where, they’d light the candle in their cupcakes and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus.
My heart filled with joy as these teenagers danced around the room like the small children they used to be. It was then I realized nothing could take the place of the love we shared. The Spirit of Christmas was in their eyes, their smiles, and their interaction with one another, and no decoration could ever out-sparkle the moment.
Christmas decorations? I do them. I like the blinking lights and the bright colors that make my home look festive. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll have them accessible next year. But for now, I’ll forever be grateful for the gentle reminder that family is what matters above all else. They are definitely more important than a storage unit housing unpacked boxes of Christmas decorations.
Therefore, my not-so-perfect Christmas; was perfect after all!