Sunday, December 7, 2008

Decorating for Christmas Prichard Style

When our children were younger, decorating for Christmas was a lively event. I often had special treats and, of course, lots of Christmas music. When our oldest were very young, we often invited singles in the church or college students to join us. We wanted to share with them the joy of little kids and the season -- we also needed extra hands. As much as little ones love decorating the tree, they really aren't very good at it.

Over the years, we've adjusted our decorating schemes. As our children became teenagers scheduling "decorating time" was a challenge. We weren't working around nap times any more. We had jobs, music rehearsals, hanging out with friends and church events to juggle. Some years, we had to "force" them to stay home so that we could have fun, happy family time. (I felt only a little bad about this.)
With a larger house, we not only have more room to decorate, but more room for storing those decorations. We've acquired garlands, wreathes, kissing balls, music boxes, etc. We even have our own little village (made of plaster of Paris and hand-painted by the children, themselves) displayed prominently on the mantle. Every year my parents give the children a special, collectible ornament. That's a lot of ornaments!

We've come up with a system that seems to work for us. Dad and whichever children are interested go to Hampton Hills to cut down a tree. After they've warmed up with hot chocolate or cider, we begin hauling up the many boxes of Christmas paraphenalia. While Dad cuts off the bottom branches, the rest of us set to rearranging the living room. Every piece of furniture has a different place during the holidays. Once the tree stand is in its pla ce, Dad brings the tree in. Usually I crawl under the tree to tighten the screws. Then we all stand and decide if it needs to be tilted this way or that. Dad's the one who usually cares, so we let him make the decisions.

With 6 boxes of decorations, not all of them go on the tree. I remind them that whatever gets taken out has to be put away. Usually, we set an hour for decorating the tree. Any more than that and kids lose interest or get "owly." Each child picks out what ornaments they want to hang. Occaisionally we have little tiffs over the suitability of this or that ornament, but most of the time they have fun going through the boxes. Once in a while, someone will pick out an especially unattractive piece and insist on putting up, much to the chagrin of the kid who made it. This year mercy was shown to the "Duct Tape Santa." The duct tape sling was removed and his arm was more carefully attached with glue.

Now that the children are older and there are fewer of them at home, the yearly decorating has become more fun and less of a chore. Our tree is now decorated. The lights are on the bannister and the mantle. Our special German wooden decoration is assembled. We're almost ready for Christmas!

No comments: