The time of year has approached when Christmas carols bellow through the malls and coffee shop sound systems, decorations adorn every store and street in the city, and the snow falls and actually stays on the ground rather than melting into a mucky mess. It is also the time of year when people crawl under the stairs to fetch out the decorations that were so carefully put away almost a year ago. For me, this ritual signals the true start of the Holiday season.
My office building has had decorations up since mid-November, but despite how beautiful I think they are, I cannot embrace the magical feeling of the season until I have my own house decorated and our Christmas tree in place. I especially love pulling out the boxes of decorations as this in itself is like Christmas morning for me. As I unwrap decorations I giggle to myself as I’ve forgotten about most of them so I become overwhelmed with sentimentality and emotion (the emotion isn’t always mushy as I have found myself wondering who in their right mind would ever buy such a hideous decoration!). There are always a few I pick up after the holidays when the sales are too good to resist and those decorations are the best as I seem to forget I bought them.
There are decorations that have a specific place in our home and always have since the first Christmas we spent here. Then there are the new ones that I haven’t quite found a perfect place for and might be moved around several times as I walk by. I always hang extra-large Christmas balls from our track lighting in the kitchen; the railing going up the stairs is wrapped in gold and red garland; a giant vase is filled with red balls with one green one on top and placed in my arched nook; our 3 stockings are hung on the fireplace while the others for all my dogs (past and present) are hung on the bookshelf. A few things that keep getting moved around may have finally settled in this year. I now have a place for my miniature village since we finally ditched the ancient desktop pc for laptops, the white paper Starbucks Christmas tree now sits in the front entry and the elf slipper table leg covers my Mum had to buy me because they were just too cute to pass up, now adorn the legs of the piano bench. There are still a few things in the bottom of the box, but I’m starting to think with Christmas a few short weeks away, might wait until next year for their debut.
A few years ago we traded in the nostalgia of a real Christmas tree for a too-hard-to-resist-the-great-sale on a fake tree. I have to admit I do miss the smell of the pine, but it is such a relief that the tree we purchased is not only pre-lit with 300 twinkling lights, but there are no bare spots and no worries that it will fall over in the night (yes, this has happened to us!). The tree may be the same and only one or two new decorations are added each year but it always looks different. AJ is old enough now to help in the tree trimming so we never know what decorations will end up where. I try my best to let go of my inner perfectionist, but I will sit on the couch late at night with only the fireplace lit and the tree lights illuminated and can’t help myself from adjusting the odd decoration. I do not have a Martha Steward tree where every decoration is perfect and within a certain colour scheme. I have some homemade decorations and yes, my beloved Starbucks ornaments which are starting to outnumber any others. I could happily only put up the tree with no other decorations around the house, but somehow I get carried away.
As I sit writing this post, the snow is falling in huge fluffy flakes. I’m completely in the holiday spirit now, except for the one last item on my list… the dreaded shopping trip. One year I really will get ahead of that one and not get sucked into the spirit of crowded malls and impatient drivers on the roads. For now, I’ll just go back to my Starbucks and watch the snow fall.