Here it comes. The checkered shopping flag has been waved and those of us who make the holidays happen have definitely started our engines.
I hope by the time you read this, I will have tidily packed away all vestiges of my fall décor in marked plastic bins and stored them deep in the attic. More likely I will have jammed them into whatever empty boxes I could find, forced the lids closed with heavy-duty tape and left them in the hallway. But maybe, just maybe, I will have managed to wander the jungle of my rear storage attic and exchange those boxes for the dozen Christmas decoration trunks, boxes and bags.
This is when I dwell on my dearest Christmas fantasy. It involves the overdone theme of this season prompting magic where inanimate objects come to life. I’m hoping that the dolls and toys will back off, leaving room for my holiday decorations to rise out of their boxes and gleefully distribute themselves around banister and doorway before my very eyes. My wreaths will fly up to the windows and plug themselves in, instead of me doing my annual balancing act on the slanted roof. The extension cords would slither out of the drawer, knowing in advance exactly which length is needed. The strings of lights will all work (now, that’s magic). If not, then only the working ones will untangle themselves and wrap around whatever area most needs them. Every bulb, candle and bow will find its perfect spot. And all this will happen right after the vacuum cleaner, mop and various cleansers have run around making my house sparkle. If this seems a bit daft, just blame Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” with its talking tea pot and coy feather duster for feeding my imagination.
At least this year’s Christmas tree is more than halfway completed. It was with great joy that I invested in a new artificial tree. I shelled out a few more bucks this time and got a very realistic balsam already sporting lights. That single purchase dissolved half of my holiday stress. I am now working madly on a plan to sidestep the whining from my “We need a real tree, mom!” children. Their use of “we” is the first problem. The getting of the fresh tree might or might not involve “we,” but the cleaning up of the pine needles, keeping it watered and disposing of it later is always singular, as in “me.” If I get my faux tree up when they’re not home and use the three brands of pine scented drops, sprays and candles I bought, they may very well not even notice.
The next challenge hard upon me is the filling of the Advent calendars. Again, showing my singular lack of foresight, I bought adorable ones that have 24 empty pockets waiting to be filled. Unfortunately, after eight or 10 days last year, I got harried and hurried and began opting for whatever foldable money I could find. That ripped the lid firmly off of Pandora’s box and I’m not at all sure my brats will settle for pieces of gum and 300-for-$1 suckers this year.
I expect I will see you as we jockey for a parking place at the mall. Until then, let’s deck those halls.
Jean Gillette is a freelance writer hoping to get a jump on the season. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.