Christmas Is Almost Upon Us

to save me from tears

Image by boyghost via Flickr

We have had some unusual weather down here. For me it’s a little strange to deal with 26 degree weather one day, and 77 degree weather the next day, one week before Christmas. Back home, even on the hottest day of summer, I can not remember it ever getting above 80 Degrees. It simply does not feel like Christmas unless the temperatures dip below 0 at least a couple of times. The other thing I miss ever so much is the snow. I never thought I would hear myself say that, but I do. I even miss shoveling the driveway.

My Grandmother believed in a white Christmas so much she even had a white tree. All of her decorations were red. When we visited on Christmas we were always greeted by that wonderful white tree with all red ornaments and lights. The rest of the house was done up in red and white garland and tinsel. It’s funny, but the simple beauty of that tree is one of the things that sticks in my mind.

Our tree was always done in the multi colored lights with the big bulbs. There was always a lighted angel sitting on the top. I never realized how much effort went into those trees until I got my own home. The first year was not all that bad, because all the lights and ornaments were new. The following year though, let me tell you I think the Christmas light manufactures make their lights intentionally so that one bulb will not work more than one year. The hours I spent plugging the strands of lights in, and one by one checking each bulb until you found the one that was blown, and changing it. I wonder what ever happened to those old fashioned lights that worked even with a blown bulb. All you had to do was plug it in and change the one that did not work.

After about five years, I had enough lights to do the four trees in the front yard, fairly large trees, all the eaves of the house and garage, the windows, and put designs on the fence. One time, my house even made it into the local paper for its lights. I have to admit, when I sold the house and moved down here, I made a gift to the new owners of all my wonderful lights, thank goodness. I know, I know, not very Christmasy am I. I don’t know what was worse, getting all those lights working and up, or taking them back down. One year I cheated, and coiled them in a large 55 gallon trash can as I took them down. They filled the trash can almost to the top. Of course I regretted it the next year. In theory all I should have had to do was locate the end of the lights, and pull them out as I put them up. Oh no, some how during the year a gremlin had gotten into that can and managed to tie knots in all those strings and weave them together so they all would come out in a few big wads.

Now that we don’t have any kids at the house, there is no real reason to go all out decorating, so we don’t. Life is much simpler now, and I have never once regretted leaving my much loved NOT lights to the new owners of my house.

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Barbara(aka Layla) said...

I am not very Christmassy either but I like your Grandma's idea of a white Christmas....

I'm hoping you recall a long lost cousin you can send my way....

Kay said...

I don't even have a Christmas tree this year because we left it in Chicago for my daughter when we moved to Hawaii. I'm going to look for one at the After Christmas sales though.... just a small one.... and no lights.

Lilly's Life said...

Hi Eric, great story and I know what you mean about the lights. They are beautiful when up but a lot of hard work to maintain.

I am a woman after your grandmother's heart, I like simple decorations and one or two colours. I use silver and white with some gold and thats it. Clear lights always. Well we have very hot Christmases here so its beach weather - I have had white Christmases in the UK which were wonderful as well. I will have to do a post on Aussie Christmases soon too. Thanks for your comment on your blog - glad you had a laugh!! And I hope you and your wife have a happy Christmas.

Shadow said...

mmmm, by some strange quirk, we've suddenly, for the FIRST time, this year put up lights outside. and now you mention the taking them down.... ho boy, i don't wanna think about that right now... years and years may pass, different homes come into play, but some traditions from our childhood always prevail somehow. comforting i guess.

Jena Isle said...

Those are touching memories. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year Eric.

the walking man said...

Our Christmas tree of a quarter century, 12 inches high and rescued from someones curbside trash sat out all year long; it didn't take up much space.

Like you say...with all of the kids gone there is no need to decorate. As a gesture of continuity we have given the tree to one of the kids. Let them enjoy.

confused said...

I am not that Christmasy with my grand children a half a world away it takes the edge off.. but I will enjoy the holiday..and I hope yours is a great one Eric

derfina said...

At least your gremlin only tied your lights in knots. Mine STOLE all my lights and I had to start from scratch with new ones! (all blue and white)

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Sandee (Comedy +) said...

I don't think I've ever had a white Christmas. I'm not a snow person so it's okay.

My son is 38 and long, long gone from our home, but we do Christmas. Love it the both of us.

Have a terrific weekend and a very merry Christmas. :)

Kel said...

I totally understand about missing the snow. Me too! At least I can take a weekend up in the Sierra's from time to time during the winter to get "my dose" of winter snowiness.

I go to great lengths, every year, to try to capture the magical Xmas wonder that Gram created at the house on Oceola Street every year: Every knick knack traded for its Xmas variation, each window bedecked and table top ornamented, lamps & chandeliers glistening with ropes of tinsel, the what-nots cabinet emptied of the mundane and filled to brimming with Xmas china and figurines, a grand tree inside dripping with lights and cherished baubles, Xmas music on the stereo, Xmas mugs replacing the usual ones, pine- and spice-scented candles burning brightly, etc. You'd probably role your eyes if I told you how many boxes of Xmas decorations I carefully repack and store in the attic through the year.

The RanDawg does the outside, including a very large now pine tree in the front yard, and we try to have a pretty good display on the house eaves and amongst the hedges each year (must have the planet glistening prettily to lure the wayward sun back toward the earth don'tcha know!)

And then there's the gustatory delights of the season: Rum or brandy in the eggnog, whiskey in the hot toddies and irish coffees, tequila or peppermint schnapps in the cocoa, glog and/or warmed spiced mead; Mincemeat and/or candied sweet-potatoe pie, fudge, cookies, and various nut brickles, etc.

Boy-oh-boy do I enjoy Xmas! Perhaps we'll manage to convince to come visit for the holidays some year?!? You'd have something grand to tease me about for the rest of our lives.

Allison said...

I know those gremlins, They showed up at my house all year long when my kids were little guys. They stole socks, they piled toys on the floor when everyone was sleeping. Its funny you used that word gremlins. I now here my sons say "The Gremlins must have done it" to their kids. Ah such sweet memories. Thanks!
You can not even tell Christmas is around the corner, not in my house and it is so sad. I miss it!

Cloudia said...

OOO You granmas X-mas tree is shining in my mind now. Thanks!

Eric S. said...

@ Barbara, Grandmas tree is one of those memories that is just so special. Merry Christmas

@ Kay, we still have our tree and all the indoor decorations. We just did not set them up this year. Merry Christmas.

@ Lilly, I bet your decorations are beautiful. I now think that the simple one or two color theme is by far more striking than all the multi color lights. Thank you and and Merry Christmas to you also.

@ Shadow, yes traditions will always prevail. I think that is part of the appeal of Christmas. Good luck on your lights, you know one year I actually left them up all year long. Merry Christmas.

@ Jena, Thank you and merry Christmas and happy New Year to you also.

@ The Walking Man, Now I like the sound of that tree. Far simpler to decorate. Merry Christmas.

@ Confused, Yes that could put the damper on the old Christmas spirit. After all, I think its more for the kids than anything. Not being able to spend it with your grand children must be hard. Merry Christmas to you also, and I hope yours is grand.

@ Derfina, We have experienced the thieving gremlins before. It aggravates the crap out of me that people would stoop low enough to steal Christmas decorations. Unfortunately there are many out there that have absolutely no scruples. Merry Christmas.

@ Sandee, I'm glad your able to keep up the old Christmas spirit. Being used to snow every year, it makes it hard to be away from it. Merry Christmas.

@ Kel, I'm am not surprised at your decorations disorder, LOL. For some reason, it just fits in perfectly with your personality. I am picturing the Griswald house from Christmas Vacation. Merry Christmas.

@ Allison, isn't it nice that we seem to pass along those gremlins to our children. LOL, it serves them right for all the fits they gave us. Merry Christmas

@ Cloudia, It was a specially beautiful tree. Oe of those that sticks in your memory for all time. Merry Christmas.

Windmill said...


I wish you Yuletide Joy and A Blessed New Year together with your family.

Happy Holidays!

maggie's mind said...

I bet the white tree with red ornaments was gorgeous! I'm still debating if we are going to put up the tree. It got here on the moving van on Monday, and there are still so many boxes in my living room. If not, next year definitely. It's still Christmas to us and still special that we are together. Sounds like you've found the level of simple that works for you, too. :)

redchair said...

Very funny Eric. Loved your story.
Have a wonderful Christmas, my friend.

Liara Covert said...

When I moved from Canada to Australia, I discovered that Down Under, people decorate far less for the festive season. WHile visiting Canada and savoring a cold, white holiday period, I find I put up a table top tree with gold lights and opt for simplicity. I sense an evolution i nthe minds of people around me who seem to decorate less and be psychologically content with less.

Eric S. said...

@ Windmill, Thanks, and Happy Holidays to you also. I hope you have a wondrous New Year.

@ Maggie, I'm so glad you made to Tulsa, and evidently in one piece. Hope you are enjoying yourself, but suspect with the task of un-packing that's unlikely. I think if I were in your shoes I would opt for the less is better this year.

@ Vikki, Thank you, and Merry Christmas to you. I hope your Holiday is filled with cheer.

@ Liara, I wonder if it isn't just our age that is the basis. As we get older, it seems that we appreciate the simple more than the extravagant.

Roy said...

nice story about Christmas. personally, i lost love for the season now that my wife is gone.

but i don't want to be a grinch and spoil my kid's Christmas.

Eric S. said...

Roy, I know that the holiday seasons can be the toughest in your situation. I'm not even going to try and say I know what your going through. But I can say some of the reason I am not in the holiday spirit is because my Father is no longer here. I can say that for me the pain has subsided, but it still sneaks up on me occasionally. I think your situation is far different than mine, if for no other reason than your kids. Keep your chin up, and continue to love your kids, for they are all that maters.

tashabud said...

Hi Eric,
I smilled reading your story because I can relate to many of them. And I totally agree with those Gremlins. Every year, we organize and keep those lights where we thought would be easy to find them, yet, year after year, we still struggle to find them. And when we find them, they're all in tangle mess. Oh I wish I could have seen your house in Colorado when it was all decked out. I know some rich people here who hire professionals to install Christmas lights in and on their homes. I love Christmas lights. When I retire, I'll have more time to decorate; I'll be putting out more decorations. I'd love to see Kel's house at Christmas time. My sister is the same too. She has decorations for every event and seasons. Her house never look the same within three months. I'm not motivated. One of our elderly friends back in Pennsylvania has a silver-coated Christmas tree. She used her previous live Christmas tree. After the tree lost all its needles and after the tree had dried up, she spray-painted it with the silver paint.

Thanks for telling us your story. Merry Christmas and a Happy New year to you and your wife.


The Muse said...

May you have the merriest of Christmases....

I am, as the aches and pains of life settle in...find myself forgoing the entire mass of outside lights...ah a bit of sadness...but still...I keep the trees..the grandchildren are close and love coming to visit !

Eric S. said...

@ Tashabud, I know those Gremlins are a menace, LOL. I have seen many homes done up by professionals. They are always very pretty. One of they fun things we do down here now, is drive through certain neighborhoods looking at the lights. There is even one neighborhood that has a code in their homeowners association that Christmas lights are required. I have never seen Kel's house, but knowing her creative talent, and knack for the artistic appearance of things I'm sure it is beautiful. Your friends tree sounds very pretty, and very unique.

@ The Muse, Merry Christmas and happy New Year to you also. I know what happened to my Christmas spirit, and perhaps one day it will return. As they say time heals all things.


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