We decided as we stood in the driveway, speaking in hushed whispers so the kids wouldn’t hear.
We knew it would change how we did things during the holidays. It would be a huge adjustment. One of our children in particular would struggle to adjust.
That day in the driveway, Dec. 26, 2012, my husband and I hurriedly packed up the pre-lit, artificial tree — that we just nabbed at a ridiculously low after-Christmas cost — before the kids could see it.
We weren’t fast enough.
“Is that a fake tree?” our oldest asked, his voice dripping with disgust.
“No?” I replied.
“Relax son,” my husband said. “It’s not the end of the world.”
“And!” I added quickly, “We can put the tree up the day after Thanksgiving next year because it’ll last longer.”
“It won’t smell!” my son said, stomping off.
First World problems, for sure.
He’s right about the smell though. I do a little jig when I remember that we can put the tree up early this year because we won’t have to worry about it dying (the last three years I’ve had to un-decorate the tree and exchange it because of dried, brown death). Then I remember that our house won’t smell like Christmas tree — my favorite part of having a tree!
Now that it’s almost time to put that sucker up, I’m second-guessing myself. I’m trying to figure out exactly how much I’m willing to spend on real — Christmas-smelling — garlands to put around the house.
Silly, I know.
The thing is, December goes by so fast. The day after Thanksgiving until Jan. 1 is a blur. I’m only able to decorate for a short time. This year, instead of waiting until the middle of December, we’re putting the tree up on Nov. 29.
Now, let me just paint a picture of what this will look like, lest any of you envision some Norman Rockwell-type scene.
Me: “We’re going to do this in an organized way. Do not dump everything out at once.”
Kid 4: “My angel from last year!” (as she dumps the box of ornaments upside down.)
Kid 3: “Can we have hot chocolate yet? You said we could have hot chocolate while we decorate.”
Me: (To Kid 2) “Don’t step on the…..”
Kid 2: “Oops!”
Kid 1: “This is boring.”
Me: “Is your room boring?”
Husband: “I’m going to check on something in the garage really quickly.”
Kid 2: “Is this a dead mouse in the box?”
Kid 4: “Ewww! It stinks!”
Kid 3: “Can we have hot chocolate yet?”
And I love every second of it. After the fact. I love it after the fact, when they’re asleep and I can sit in the dark, with only the tree lights aglow, thinking about how much better Christmas is with kids in it.
Now I just need to find some real garlands, STAT!