I am typing this next to our Christmas tree, which sits in the corner of our living room. We finally got it lit last week, and what an adventure that was. It is a prelit artificial tree-- full, yet slender. We never had a prelit tree before this one, and I was pleased to acquire it. Hanging lights is my least favorite Christmas job, though I love the effect. But even as we pulled the tree out of the box four years ago, Mr. Honey and I wondered how long it would take for the lights to quit. They don't make 'em like they used to, and all that.
Well, it took four years on this prelit tree. That's a good long time by today's standard.
We left the tree standing undecorated for most of last week, which goes against our tradition-- basically to pull out and set up every bit of Christmas as soon as we can after Thanksgiving. I rearranged plugs. Triss rearranged plugs. Mr. Honey rearranged plugs. We read "How Christmas Lights Work". I learned more than I ever wanted to know about bulbs connected in series. I opened the tiny bags of replacement lights and began painstakingly replacing single bulbs. I did get a few (three) to light up. I called my dad. I emailed my mom. Repeatedly.
We still don't know what is wrong with those lights.
Finally, I began to consider alternatives. Should we go with a live tree this year and hang our own lights? Or should I listen to Mariel, who came up with an alternative idea-- one she has been dreaming of lo, these many prelit years.
See, the lights on the tree are all white. And Mariel lives in technicolor.
She suggested, over and over last week, that we simply string colored lights through our prelit tree and ignore the white lights. And later in the week, in a completely unrelated thought process, my mom suggested the same thing.
So that is what we did. We have a tree in full color this year. :O)
And, in keeping with the colorful, childlike tree, I allowed the children to decorate the house.
That is how our sweet Bob-doll exchanged his cowboy hat for a paper one inscribed with, "Santa Claus cowboy is coming to town!!!"
(Bob is a rugged and handsome boy china doll, around a foot and a half tall, that my Aunt Ruth made. He is dressed for the range: jeans, boots, bandana, vest, and even some fringed gloves. The girls have decided he is their adopted brother. He's very quiet for a boy.)
They set out our nativity scenes, draped with silver and gold curling ribbon; put the wreaths on the doors (wait, I did those); pulled out every Christmas book we own and placed them under the tree; and hung the stockings by the print of the Big Horn Mountains (alas, we have no fireplace).
Only one sad event marred the celebration of decoration: our beloved ivory china angel for the top of the tree had to be retired this year, as the plastic cone under her dress has come all to pieces. She can only sit. We placed a cat dressed in royal robes on the top instead, but it will never be the same. We appreciate the years of service our ivory angel gave-- 25 years topping a tree! She was my angel given to me when I was in junior high, and I gave her to Triss several years ago. She must continue to be a part of Christmas, even if she cannot occupy the highest place.
And on a lighter note, at Walmart tonight we saw a stuffed turkey that sings, "Deck the Halls". He looked like Thanksgiving and Christmas collided.
We used all of Mr. Honey's Christmas lights to light up our tree, and had to purchase some more so he could decorate the front of the house. We made his day with all-green lights. Mr. Honey likes green. A lot.
So now we are ready for Christmas, minus the presents and the cards. Those are forthcoming. We are using our housekeeping hour each weekday morning to work on them. We are doing a Christmas letter instead of cards this year, for the first time.
Since I want to greet all of you, but don't have the addresses of everyone who reads this blog, I will post a version of our Christmas letter here-- after I have mailed all our hard copies. I can't allow those of you whose addresses I do have to read the letter without the full benefit of stationery and presentation, now can I? (Whew, that *is* rather a clumsy sentence, isn't it?) Anyway, afterward, dahling.
We have only handed out three letters so far. You know who you are. :O)
Okay, I really need to get some sleep. Going to bed now.