For years I have reserved the Friday after Thanksgiving as my set-in-the-stone day to get our tree up. The main tree that is. Yes, I've had years where I've had some kind of Christmas tree in every room in the downstairs! I truly love the Christmas season and seeing reminders of it in every square inch of our home gives me a lot of happiness. Usually what happens is my hubby drags the tree up from the basement (we have to do artificial trees because my "decorated season" lasts so long), drags all the boxes of stuff up, and then he leaves me to my own devices. It usually takes me about a week to get everything just the way I like it.
It didn't happen that way this year. Last Friday we spent the day concentrating a whole lot more on people than on things. In the morning we met a couple we hardly knew for breakfast. He had lost his brother to cancer about 6 weeks ago and had been the primary family caregiver. He is still hurting ~ a lot. Then we spent about 3 hours visiting my brother in the afternoon. see THIS post We had no inclination to think about Christmas decorating at all.
But something the friend we met for breakfast said in response to my lagging Christmas spirit jolted me into action. I made a decision that in spite of all that is going on in my life this year, that I wanted to enjoy the moments I have with my loved ones in a sane, simple and sacred way. So I invited our Ohio branch of our immediate family ~ our son, his wife, and their 3 kids over a couple nights ago for a simple soup supper and to decorate our tree.
It was a totally stress-free evening of fun. We opened two large boxes of ornaments that were not particularly fragile and let the 3 and 5 year olds go for it. I didn't even help, I just watched. I REALLY watched. I saw the excitement, the smiles, the childlike pride in helping. 90% of the ornaments are on the bottom 1/3 of the tree. Two days later, I haven't fixed it yet. When I feel like it I will get the more fragile and sentimental ornaments out and rearrange things a little. But for now, I'm letting my mind and heart photocopy this priceless evening of togetherness and joy.