So, who does it?
If you put up a Christmas tree in your house, who gets the job of putting the lights on it?
Growing up, it was always my father. Now, it’s mine.
Every year I swear that this is the worst job I’ve ever done on the lights. Ever. Seriously, I think this year I started saying this even before I’d finished getting the first string up. And yet, when it’s all finished, it still looks good, and nobody really notices the things that drove me crazy, how I was constantly finding a blue light right underneath a blue light, no matter how I tried to manipulate it; or that half the lights aren’t actually on any branches, they’re just sort of hanging in mid-air, because there’s only four inches between bulbs and the wires are too thick and inflexible, and putting a bulb here pulls that bulb there off the spot where I’d placed it so carefully and….
Calm. Deep breath.
My Dad was a pretty calm guy. It was my mother who had the explosive temper. Dad did the slow burn. He’d grumble. He’d mutter. He’d get a certain look on his face that was hard to explain, but you knew he was getting steamed. Very rarely did he actually explode, though. But putting up Christmas tree lights, we’d often see that steam. As a kid, I could never understand it, it seemed like a cool job. Now I know better. It’s possibly the most hateful job of Christmas, a time-consuming, frustrating activity that leaves your hands sticky and scratched, smelling of pine, and frustrated, needles in your hair and down your shirt... Yet, in the end, the tree always looks good.
This year, as I worked, I watched a story play out in my head, a story of a little boy, his mother, and his grandpa preparing for Christmas. It was perfect, though unfinished, in my head, and I got a decent start of it in my writer’s group yesterday; now we’ll see if I can finish it for next Christmas, ha ha. Anyway, that’s about all. See you on Friday. And I’ll leave you with music from the soundtrack of A Charlie Brown Christmas, which may be my favorite Christmas special ever.