It hit me in early December that this was to be the last full Christmas season that my son would have with us. After he starts college, he will be coming home on breaks, but it won’t be the same. For one thing, we don’t want to put up a huge tree display anymore. So this year, we spent an unusually amount of deference to his wishes for Christmas. Many years we put up an artificial tree that we’ve had for a long time. Years where we were away for most of the season, we have done without a tree at all. This year he wanted a real tree, but didn’t want to go to the trouble of stalking a tree out in the woods like some bloggers I know.
We went to BigBoxOfLumber and looked over their rapidly diminishing stock and found a tree that wasn’t too tall, but was still full enough to avoid references to Charlie Brown. My son in a fit of bravado single-handedly carried it through the door and into the loving room, just to make like of my complaints about its weight. Once set up I did the annual checking of the lights and patiently replaced any burned out bulbs. For all the trouble that is, I think buying all new lights every year is the way to go.
We also used this opportunity to do a triage pass through the ornaments. Twenty years of marriage and twelve years with a teacher as a spouse can collect some truly hideous examples. Anything made of pipe cleaners or with magic marker labeling went. Ornaments with a connection to my son went in a separate box to serve as a starter set for if and when he has his own tree.
(click on image for a barely readable version)
The ornaments that made the cut for tree hanging were the ones that either commemorated an event or a place or a special memory. The hardest one to hang was the English Cocker Spaniel that my wife had hand colored to match the markings of our dog. He is watching us from Doggie Heaven this year. An a brighter note, at my son’s insistence, The Defiant made its return to the tree after several years of being vetoed by my wife as too geeky. The concept of a Star Trek ornament itself is nerdy enough, but this one has blinking running lights that plug into the tree lights.
Last night my son, who has been threatening to bake Santa some chocolate chip cookies since he knows those are my least favorite, instead left out egg nog and slices of raw sugar cookie dough. I went down to inspect that the snacks had been placed where Santa could find them. My son yelled down to check on me and I could only reply with a muffled “Mmmmph.” Needless to say, Santa enjoyed his snack. A kid is only a kid once, but Christmas will always bring out the kid in anyone.
Merry Christmas To Family and Friends,
Real and Virtual
Real and Virtual