Christmas Time

It happens every year, so I don’t know why I am ever surprised.  Christmas is here once again- wasn’t it just last week? I grew up on many traditions and now as a mom, have tried to come up with a few of my own.  I have fond memories of decorating the tree, singing Christmas carols, going to church and singing “Silent Night” as we all lit our candles.  All very Norman Rockwell-esque.  I think I can even here Karen Carpenter singing in the background as I look back over the years.  Good times.  And, the good times are still here.  (Well, let me back up and give you the run down of Christmas prep at our house, then we will get to the good times.)
LOML, God bless his sweet heart, has this thing about the way he likes things to be.  In life in general, but at Christmas time…well, let’s just say his inner Clark Griswold comes out.  Last Thursday night he was hanging out wreaths on the windows so the outside would be all ready for the church Christmas party we were hosting.  Now, there is a fine art and science to hanging the “damn wreaths” (as they are affectionately known as).  I gave up helping a long time ago, for simply wanting to keep my head attached to my shoulders.  You measure and place the suction cup on the bottom sash, you lower top sash and hang wreath and the ribbon to the nail at top of top sash, and then you carefully hook the wreath onto the suction cup for extra security, and close both sashes- hoping nothing falls off. (Including LOML falling out the window.) By the way, something always falls off….enter here LOML using some VERY BAD WORDS!!!  Also, a point to note is it is usually about 30 degrees with blowing winds while this is taking place.  Good times.
This past Wednesday was the night that my family was going to pick out the “tree”.  Now, I have never met a bigger tree snob than my husband- but I love that he wants it to be perfect for his family…but honey-life ain’t perfect.  We chose to head out to the local Home Depot…(.yeah , yeah, I know- not the most Norman Rockwell thing we do at Christmas, BUT they have Noble Firs which is Tree Snob’s fav so there you go).  It’s about 7 o’clock as the five of us prance on in, the kids are very excited as am I because Baby Boy is REALLY digging the whole Christmas thing.  Baby Girl 1 and 2 are as happy as they can be, and LOML is grinning from ear to ear.   We head out to the garden center to find that, although open, no one is working….not a good sign for me.  Then, we find the ONE Noble Fir they have left…the Charlie Brown Noble Fir…again, not a good sign for me.  Then, as LOML and the girls are honing in on a good one- Baby Girl 1 gets upset because it isn’t big enough…ok, you can see this is only about to go down hill and into a concrete wall right?  So then after looking at 20 trees (mind you, I didn’t look at this many colleges, wedding dresses, names for my children,…) we find “the tree”.  It really doesn’t seem to matter, because Baby Girl 1 is beyond consoling at this point and LOML is just pissed off that no one is there to check us out which is going to require him to get the tree way the hell to the other side of the store to check out!
Picture this…
LOML, in his Brooks Brothers suit and dress coat, dragging a Christmas tree through Home Depot with the rest of the Griswold’s trailing behind.  We finally catch up to him at the SELF CHECK OUT LANE trying to scan the tree!  Literally.
The nicest girl comes over to offer help and I am trying desperately to catch her attention in warning that she may just want to hide behind the counter, but it’s too late…..the kids are all coming un-glued and I am afraid LOML is going to be taken out on a stretcher after he has a heart attack.  The girl has another worker come over to help Frank, and things seem to be moving in a new happier direction…the guy picks the tree up and carries it back to the garden center to trim the trunk and bag’er up!   (Insert here the uncontrollable laughter from me.)
Anyway, so now the tree is up and got decorated that night with lots of fun and laughter.  Once we got home- everyone was a bit more in the Christmas spirit.  I sat in the other room for a while and messed around in the kitchen thinking of how the size of the tree and the wreaths on the front really don’t matter much- not in this day in time.  It’s all nice to have, but it’s not what it’s really all about is it?  No, and of course you know where I am heading with this,

Charlie Brown: “Isn’t there ANYONE who knows what Christmas is all about?!?!

Linus: “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’ ” (Luke 2:8-14)

“You see, Charlie Brown—that’s what Christmas is all about.”

“We’re gonna have the hap hap happiest christmas since Bing Crosby tapdanced with Danny f!@#* Kaye!”
                                                                                 – Clark Griswold, Christmas Vacation

Thank you Mr. Schultz and Mr. Griswold, for reminding us for what it’s really all about, but also for keeping it real:

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