Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas cheer!



Every year, I picture my kids, husband and I putting up the Christmas tree together. We're laughing and hugging and drinking hot cider (mine might have a little rum in it). Outside the window, the snow is falling in big fluffy flakes and we're telling stories about each ornament, recalling where we got them or when we made them. We're smiling and stringing popcorn, (I'm not sure why, I don't really want popcorn on the tree. The dog would eat it. But it just looks like something a happy family should do) as we sing Christmas carols.

You know, like the freakin' Hallmark movie channel would do it.

Somehow, it never turns out that way.

I made the mistake of mentioning Christmas decorations to my son.

"Now!?! Can we put them up now?" he asks, excited.
"No, no, not right now. I said sometime soon."
"Oh," he says, bummed out for about a half a second. "How about now?"
"No! Stop! Go watch tv or something."

5 minutes later.

"Now?"
"No!"

Now imagine having this conversation at least 250 more times the next few hours. I couldn't even make eye contact with the boy, he was like a rabid dog, waiting to pounce, looking for an opening.

"NO!"
"But I didn't say anything!"
"You were going to, I could tell."

Finally, because I am weak, I give in. My husband is not home yet, so I venture into the garage and dig out the Christmas tree. To get to it, I have to move several boxes of junk, a tool box and a greasy seat from a Peterbilt semi. Grunting and groaning, covered in dust, I drag the thing into the house, three small children trailing behind me, talking excitedly about Santa.

"Santa will love our tree!" Delaney says. I wish "Santa" was here, I think, to help put the damn thing together.

"He sure will!" I say sweetly. Because I am. Sweet.

I dust off the spider webs and open the box. Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, Thy leaves are so unchanging. Because you're plastic. I lug the parts out of the box and put it together. It's the kind with the lights already on it. You know, to make things easier. I plug it in.

They don't light. Of course they don't light. Silly me.

"Why don't they light?" Nick asks.
"Because mommy's out of wine," I say.
"What?"
"Nothing."

Several minutes of switching out bulbs, jiggling wires and turning switches on and off seems to solve most of the problem. I decide that a lot of large ornaments will disguise the remaining dark parts of the tree. So, now the fun part! Ornaments!

We open the ornament box. The baby is hypnotized by the sparkling garland. The other two kids shriek and dive in like they're bobbing for apples.

"No! Slow down! You're going to...CRACK...break them." Ok, shake it off. It's a small fatality. No one's bleeding, there's plenty more ornaments.
"Sorry mom."
"That's ok, we just need to be more careful. Here, I'll hand them to you, ok? And then you can hang them up." Ah, mom, the voice of reason. I hand him and Delaney an ornament.

"AHHHH! NO! I WANT THAT ONE! I HATE THIS ONE!"
"NO! I LIKE THIS ONE! YOU CAN'T HAVE IT."
"OH GOD! Would you please stop screaming at each other? Give me that one, here, take this one. There! Is everyone happy now?"
"Yes."
"Yes."
"Ok! Let's decorate this tree!"
"AHHHH! DELANEY PUT HERS ON FIRST! I WANTED TO BE FIRST!"

Oh, why am I out of wine? I contemplate calling the neighbors to see if they have any wine. You can borrow sugar right? Why not wine? But I don't want you to think that I'm the kind of person that has to have alcohol to deal with stress. Because I don't. I usually use valium, but I'm all out.

"Mom, the baby has that sparkly stuff around his neck."
"Mom, remember when I made this in preschool?" Nick asks, holding up a decorated paper ornament. Yay! Here we go! Just like my little happy family fantasy.
"I sure do, it's a pretty one!" I say.
"WHY DON'T I HAVE AN ORNAMENT LIKE THAT!?" Delaney cries.
"Because you were too little for preschool last year. I bet you'll make one this year!"
"BUT I WANT ONE NOW!"
"MOM!" Nick screams. "THE BABY TORE MY ORNAMENT!" He falls to the floor, crying in distress.

The baby is chewing on the ornament. I take the paper out of his mouth. It's not very pretty anymore.
"Um, don't worry Nick. We will fix it!" I discreetly slip it into my pocket, to throw away when he's not looking. "Here, put this one on instead. No, no! Higher! The baby is going to get it!"

Somehow, we decorated the tree. Somehow, I made it through without wine (although we had plenty of "whine").



My husband comes home, very late, after the kids are in bed.

"The tree looks nice," he says. "I wish I could've been here!"

Sigh.

57 comments:

Holly said...

I always picture the decorating of the tree to be quite different than what it is too....maybe one day...not likely.

I did popcorn one year and came home to a string a wrapped aropudn all th efurniture inthe room...I guess it was the blonde in me that assumed the dog would leave it alone. So I (for some odd reason) dream of popcorn garlands!

You tree is beautiful.

Holly @ 504 Main

PaisleyJade said...

Haha - you've made me feel better about not putting ours up yet... and keen to secretly put it up while the kids are in bed!

Buckeroomama said...

I can totally relate!!

Your tree looks really pretty, by the way! I love that giant candy cane. :)

Lunhatikk said...

LMAO, I just love your posts, seriously though.. where's the wine?

You know, I was waiting and waiting for the same kind of scenario here today and it didn't come. I was so impressed! The kids shared the donning of the tree so well that I turned around and it was done! Our tree is nowhere near as pretty as yours but it was done, no whining, no fighting (if you don't count the fighting over who gets to wear the elf hat in the xmas photo - "YOU WILL BOTH GET TO WEAR THE DAMN HAT!").

The Peach Tart said...

Your tree is lovely. I'm dying to put mine up but can't get to it because of all the heavy boxes so waiting on Mr. Peach Tart to get with the plan.

Neva said...

Yea, I just had these same thoughts as I listened to my sister screaming at her kids, my brother screaming at his kids, everyone sweating as they put up my moms tree. And I thought, "Hmm, something seems amiss?!" Not exactly Christmas spirit. My sis-in-law saved the day/irritated everyone by actually singing Christmas carols with good cheer...Can't wait to put my tree up!

RaspberryKitsch said...

aww your tree looks lovely. shame about the stress, you coped pretty well though by the sound of it!

raspberrykitsch.blogspot.com


xx

Denise @ Sunflowers, Chocolate and Little Boys said...

I can totally relate. My "fantasy" of how decoration should be and our reality of how it is are two compeletely different things. Sounds like your house is very similar to ours.

Your tree does look great....and you should stock up on wine. You might need it to get through Christmas =D

Lindsey said...

Love this post. I always picture the tree decorating halmark like as well and it always turns out very very different!
Nice job making thru without your wine. Your a rockstar!!

Tiffany said...

thankfully, my kids are still too young to make decorating an event from hell. give it about 2 or 3 more years.

the tree looks gorgeous though, despite the whine. :)

kristibonney said...

This was hilarious! My husband pulled the tree out and set it up lastnight & we plan on decorating it tonight. Like you, I have visions of a happy family hanging ornaments, reminiscing about each and every ornament. A woman can dream, right? Well, I'm pretty sure that our night will only consist of whinning and fighting over specific ornaments. The sad thing is, when it's all said and done I'm going to move the ornaments around the way I like them! LOL Have a Happy Tuesday!

Kristi, Hello...Is This On?
@TweetingMama

brainella said...

Brave woman. I'm going to SEND you some wine. :) I have to have my eggnog with whiskey or it's just not right.

We don't have an artificial tree -- we get a real tree so we have to wait until the weekend. Dominic's poor head might explode by then from being told NO. :)

Becky aka MsBatman said...

In the interest of saving your mental health, I am here leaving comment love.
Sounds like my house. My kids bitch and whine about when are we going to put the tree up? When I funally cave and dig all the stuff out, they are suddenly too busy doing 'something' (read, Nothing) to help.

kys said...

There is never a shortage of whine at my house. Your tree is very pretty!

leigh said...

Beautiful tree...worth the headache, I'm sure.

XO
Leigh

Life Laugh Latte said...

Now that was a Hallmark moment!!! My kids decorated the tree Sunday and had a blast doing it. I remember decorating the tree when I was a kid and them my Mom staying up past midnight to redecorate it. I always hated that she moved the ornaments. I love the way my kids do it, all decorations in the front. We have a Hallmark tree and I love looking at it.
Charisse

Tattoos and Teething Rings said...

The tree is beautiful; we usually put ours up around my birthday (the 13th). And, of course, my husband only helps if I promise him something in return. This year my baby will be 19 months at Christmas, so I'm worried about putting it up...

Noelle said...

omg...i am laughing...and crying...and laughing...and crying. that is SO my house. *shudder*

when it's finally all done, i just want to throw the sonuvabitch out the window. ho. ho. ho.

Shannon said...

It seems most all our family togetherness ends in some kind of unhappiness with several handfuls of meltdowns thrown in for good measure. But I never seem to learn and keep trying. Maybe we'll get it right one of these years. I know Christmas morning has to be better. Oh, and your tree looks divine! Love all the red!!

Emma said...

Good to know I'm not the only one who ends up slightly disappointed every year when Christmas doesn't mimic a Hallmark card. Your tree looks gorgeous though!

Erin said...

WHenever there is a lot of whining at our house I need a lot of wine to go with it. Mommy juice can get me through most anything.

otin said...

LMAO! I wish I could have been here!

Men are not as dumb as you women think that we are lol!

Nice tree, though.

Susan Fobes said...

This is too funny because it is almost exactly how our non'Norman Rockwell' decorating went. My husband was sitting off to the side (he brought the tree up so now he was done) while my two and I had "fun." And wine doesn't help it any...

blueviolet said...

You are so brave to take that on by yourself! It turned out to be really pretty too! Bravo!

I don't like the idea of popcorn on there either for some reason.

Betty Manousos:cutand-dry.blogspot.com said...

Your tree is quite lovely!. I think i have to start decorating my house.I'm a little behind.
hugs hugs

Sissy said...

Oh thank God it's not just me and my family. every year a fight breaks out. even before we had kids.

Sarah said...

Your tree is really beautiful...props to you for getting it done! Love love love Christmas decorations but sometimes it's so hard to get them up...

Flory said...

Oh my! We haven't put ours up yet, but plan to do so this weekend. I think our dialogues will be a lot similar to yours. LOL.

Your tree looks awesome!

AJ said...

This is funny. I came across a comment you left on SFTC... and thought I'd meander over and read something new for a change! I usually don't follow people until they comment on my blog... cause I'm bitter like that. But I'm going to follow you... so I can find you later. :)
Come on by and if you like what you read, feel free to follow too. Besides. We are ALMOST the same age. :)

Respectfully Yours said...

Funny blog and very realistic. Thanks for the chuckle. Looks like the end result turned out very pretty. Come by and see me sometime...

Stina said...

This post sounds just like our two boys, that are 6 and 3:-) We have not put up our Christmas Tree yet. But we will be putting it up this weekend:-) These kind of memories will last a life time:-) (wish us luck:-)

r u s s said...

"Somehow, we decorated the tree. Somehow, I made it through without wine (although we had plenty of "whine")." → This is HILARIOUS! But the tree's there :)

I wish you luck for Christmas next year, I'm sure with constant practice you'll have the Hallmark kind of putting up Christmas decors, with your wine. I enjoyed reading this entry.

Angie Muresan said...

The tree is very pretty. Right out of a Hallmark movie or card! :) And sorry, but I found this hilarious and laughed.

lemonologie said...

I completely identify with this! I think that we will have a family evening of putting everything up, but all I get is groaning & moaning!

mudmama said...

Ok, I LOVE this! So relatable! And I always get myself in trouble with the fantasy of what i want it to be. I would so have given you a cup o wine i I was your neighbor! Thanks or the fun post and your tree looks great!

mudmama said...

Ok, I LOVE this! So relatable! And I always get myself in trouble with the fantasy of what i want it to be. I would so have given you a cup o wine i I was your neighbor! Thanks or the fun post and your tree looks great!

Life Laugh Latte said...

The tree looks great. We've all been there...it might be the tree...it might be Halloween night...it might be going to get pumpkins. Their memory of it will be very different from yours...in their minds it will be perfect. Holly

Joshua said...

I like the way you tell a story. Now to find time to do some back reading.

-Joshua

Susan Fobes said...

BTW: You have an award on my site. Don't worry about passing it-I think you got this one before...

Carol said...

It looks beautiful and you won't even notice the missing lights once you have a couple glasses of wine!

jenie said...

22 days to go ;)

have something for you dawn! ;) sharing with you the smile it gave me...come grab it!

jenie said...

thank you for includine at-a-blink at you "good reads"...that truly is heartwarming!

what do i do for my 3 other blogs to be in your "so many blogs, so little time? ;) it will be an honor.

SPEAKING FROM THE CRIB said...

that was great. i used to picture crap like that too. and then i had kids and a dog.

fantasy over

SPEAKING FROM THE CRIB said...

actually can i use this post as a guest post during christmas week? if yes is your answer, can you email it to me? thanks a bunch!

The Blonde Duck said...

LOL! Isn't it funny how reality doesn't match up with our visions?

Christie O. said...

ok freakin hilarious! it sounds just like my house and the lunacy that happens here. and i laughed most about your hallmark picturesque family-ness because i had the same picture in my head but i made the mistake of putting the tree up an hour before the kids' bedtime, or what i call "the witching hour" because they're just lunatics with no sense of reality or normalcy or self-control whatsoever at that hour (like they've had chocolate iv's pumping them up.)

anyway. it's up. no casualties. and yours is beautiful, i must say! (ps. i have a JUG of wine in my kitchen as we speak.)

Veronica Lee said...

Very brave of you to take that on by yourself! But it is a very lovely tree!!

Amanda said...

Fantastic story.

Last year we cut our own tree down. We didn't realize it was infested with spiders until after it was decorated. I'm still finding spiders in my house.

Maybe the plastic tree isn't such a bad idea...

tattytiara said...

Haha, it looks great!

Six Feet Under Blog said...

Pretty tree-congrats!

Working Mommy said...

While I'm not usually fan of colored lights - what can I say, I'm a vanilla sort of girl - I do adore your tree!! And the story that went along with it!!

Stopping by to say hello, from your newest follower!!

~Working Mommy

leigh said...

There is a very special award for you at my Blog. It's my way of saying thanks. Thank you for being so loyal and faithful to me babe. You are marvalous!!

I love ya,
Leigh

Michelle said...

Oh my gosh.,,...this is hyseterical!!! Busting out laughing over here. Our "tree decorating" was identical but I did have wine. Box wine of course!

Ali (OneChicMommy) said...

Your tree looks great! We are going to get our tree this weekend and I already have the wine and the hard stuff on deck. If decorating is going to be anything like it was last year I am definitely going to need it, Lol!

I have an award for you on my blog!

The Waylaid Wordsmith said...

Slipping the ornament in your pocket to throw out later had me laughing my butt off...I do this ALL THE TIME.

Your tree looks great. Mine has a Nightmare Before Christmas kind of feel going on. Everything's slightly lopsided and not quite right...and the baby has already rearranged all ornaments within his reach. The tree got him back, though, with a good jab to the eye when he tripped and fell into it...

A friend of mine with a dog and little kids put up fake palm trees and hung a couple ornaments on them, far above the ground where they're safe. I'm starting to think this is highly ingenious.

panamamama said...

Awesome! Sounds JUST like our tree event every year. Except our battles are who has to do the lights (me or hubby.) The kids don't fight over ornaments anymore because about 2 yrs ago I smarted up and bought them each a pretty box to put their OWN ornaments in. (Ok, I divided up my ornaments by 3.) It works! :) We are going to get one on Sunday...

Elizabeth said...

You're such a funny story teller. Gah, I laughed out loud about the leaves unchanging because you're plastic bit :)

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