Friday, November 28, 2008

Time To Decorate!

Here is my family Christmas photo from 2007. We traveled out of state last year to be with my parents & sibs & their kids for about 4 days & it was wonderful! This is in my moms' house where you cannot look in any direction without running into decorations of the holiday. She goes all out & it takes her weeks to put it all up & then again to strip it all down again.

I was thinking about her this morning - after -Thanksgiving which is normally my Christmas decorating day. No, I never go out shopping on this day, no way no how! I did not really decorate today though because I needed to really clean for something happening here tomorrow. As I dusted furniture, scrubbed bathrooms & swept all floors (no carpeting in whole house, just rugs on wood-like floors) I could clearly picture a huge calendar that my mom used to draw each year to keep us on track for her decorating schedule.

You read that correctly. She had a serious decorating schedule. The calendar began THREE MONTHS before Christmas! It was all about DEEP cleaning the entire 2 story house from top to bottom in preparation for her major decorating plans. I kid you not. My moms' decorating involved removing EVERY SINGLE object from every space & table top, storing it away & replacing it all with holiday themed pretties. We had little Christmas trees in the bathrooms, complete with tiny ornaments, real greenery along all bookshelves & staircase banister, fake snow on all windows & the pictures on the walls were either replaced with holiday scenes or wrapped up like a gift. The front door & yard were always beautifully decorated. The couches had Christmas pillows, the kitchen had green & red patterned napkins, hot pads & dish towels. We used Christmas mugs & dishes instead of the regular stuff & enjoyed spicy scented candles & lots of Christmas music on the stereo. To top it all off we had two huge Christmas trees; the one in front of the big picture window was elegantly decorated in silver or gold & the tree in the family room was a crazy, fun mixture of all the ornaments we had made for her or she had bought through the years at holiday craft shows.

Today I was pondering why she worked so hard for so many weeks to have the ultimate Christmas each year. Sometimes she desired every detail to be so perfect that it made her too sick & tired to even enjoy the actual day once it finally came around. This morning, for the first time I believe I figured out what was behind all that planning & work. When she was a child her holidays were pretty much the opposite of what she had given us. I recall her describing a year when she had cut out a tree from butcher paper & taped it to the wall so she & her sibs had something to look at to tell them it was a special day. What gifts they put under that paper tree I don't know.

I wonder if as a little girl she may have made a promise to herself that her kids would have a real Christmas each year instead of what she had. My mother is an enthusiastic, people-loving, generous person who is also very strong & determined when she sets a goal for herself. It would not surprise me at all if somewhere in the back of her mind & memory she is thinking about that paper tree while she decorates her two big lush trees & draping fragrant greenery around the fireplace mantel.


  1. Brenda, that paper tree makes me so sad. It sounds like your mom has really overcome hard things to make Christmas beautiful for everyone. What a beautiful story! Thank you.

  2. I LOVED reading this post. I must admit the snow on the windows and ... line threw me for a minute. I thought she sprinkled snow on tops of the wall pictures also. WHEW--glad I read that part over again. I really thought she had gone over the deep end. :) But how wonderful that she took such joy in the season.

  3. Hey Snuffie, thanks for the comment about the confusing sentence. You were right & I just fixed it!

  4. My childhood Christmases were good but nothing spectacular. My mom was an only child and a transplanted New Englander so life in her home was pretty practical and understated. Same with my house. Now, with taking care of my infant and toddler grandsons, I don't decorate at all. We spend Christmas over at my son's house and they have the tree and all the trimmings there. Since the two boys are with me an average of 55 hours per week, I don't have the energy any more at almost-55 to do much more than what I do on a daily basis. Am I a Grinch? Oh, probably, in other people's minds. Last Christmas was the first time in 33 years of marriage Dear Hubby and I got to spend it with just our kids and grandkids...all the prior ones were MANDATORY attendance at my in-laws'. I dunno. It's going to take some doing to get me back to where I actually enjoy the holiday. I love what it stands for spiritually, but it was always a juggling act between my mom-in-law's mandates and resentment on my parents' side. Arggghhhh. I will NOT ever do that to my children/daughter-in-law/grandkids.

  5. I can relate to your story about your mom. My mother is the same and I am in awe at the wonderful joy she gets by all she does and she is like a little kid everytime she puts ornaments on the tree. This year she bought a tree that actually revolves around so that she can enjoy all the ornaments. Her childhood was sparse at Christmas time. There were 9 kids and not much money so I figure that is why she goes all out every year and loves every moment. We are so fortunate to have our moms! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I have enjoyed reading yours too.


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