My vision of Christmas decorating: Christmas music playing, a fire in the fireplace, and a mug of hot chocolate nearby as I reminisce about each decoration I unpack. It’s a cozy, peaceful, memory-making moment.
My Christmas decorating reality: I promised my Holiday Task-Master Emily that when she came home from school on Monday, our house would be decorated. As she ran down our driveway to hop on the school bus she yelled, “REMEMBER YOU PROMISED!” It was 7:00 in the morning and I had no doubt that I would make good on my promise.
I spent the next couple of hours in decoration-preparation mode: picking up, answering some email, and vacuuming. (You can’t decorate with a messy house or with unanswered emails!) Then Molly and I went to the Y so I could get in a workout. (Calorie burning seemed wise with my plans for hot chocolate while decorating!) After the Y, we made a quick run to the grocery store and came home for lunch and Molly’s nap time. As all work-at-home moms know, naptime equals office hours. So I dutifully sat at my laptop, put on my professional hat, and went to work. An hour or so later, I glanced at the clock and it was 2:00. TWO O’CLOCK! The kids walk in the door at 3:00. IN ONE HOUR!
Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you speed decorating. Move over Zumba, this is the fitness craze of the season!
I raced up the stairs, carried a Christmas box out of the attic space and made split-second decisions about what decorations took priority. I then sprinted around the house spreading festivity. Garland and pretty sparkly things appeared on the mantel. Christmas books replaced the books on the bookshelf. Tables were covered with table runners and Christmas centerpieces. With fifteen minutes to spare, I frantically ran upstairs to lug down the two nativity scenes. (One kid friendly and one of the touch-this-nativity-and-no-presents-for-you variety.) Wisemen, shepherds, and angels flew into position and then, mere minutes from the arrival of the school bus, I had a nativity crisis.
I was missing the kid-friendly baby Jesus, a key player in the whole nativity scene.
I did what anyone in a nativity-crisis situation would do; I logged onto Facebook and updated my status so others could share the moment. A friend of mine quickly posted the following comment, “Nativity tip: Star Wars figures will do in a pinch. Yoda makes a great Jesus.” I ran to our Star Wars tub and while frantically searching for Yoda, I realized Baby Jesus may be hiding in the Fisher Price tub. He was. I quickly nestled the plastic Jesus snugly in his plastic manger.
I’d done it. The house was decorated.
I sat down to catch my breath and prepared to bask in the glow of Emily’s excitement and wonderment. And I did. She came home and ran around the house checking out each decoration and singing Deck the Halls at the top of her lungs. David came home and asked what I had for a snack. He has slightly different priorities.
That night we actually had the hot chocolate and cozy fire from my unrealistic expectations. While we were having our family moment in the freshly decorated family room, Emily said to me, “You did a good job, Mom. It’s almost wonderful.”
I’ll take it.