I admire people who share photos of their perfectly decorated Christmas trees on social media. Their stockings hung by the chimney with care; everything in its place. But that is not my house, and that is not the goal of our main decorator, the Carpenter.
You might question how the Carpenter became the lead elf (and sole member) of the decorating committee. The answer is the secret to our marriage: pick your battles. If my husband wants to run with the tinsel and untangle the Christmas lights, I’m all for it.
I give the Carpenter full credit though; he is the retriever of the heavy holiday totes that are stuffed to the brim with mementos of Christmases past. He is the only person who could do this because his organization skills are like those of a squirrel. When we take the holiday décor down each January, he disperses those totes in every nook and cranny he can find; from the garage, to that spot under the stairs, to the cabinets where old paint tins go to die. Only he knows what resides inside those totes. He refuses to label them. He actually believes he will remember what each tote contains come December. He doesn’t. Squirrel.
Like most things in our house, decorating starts off with great enthusiasm that fades quickly, meaning it may or may not be finished by Dec. 25, and there will be new holes drilled into the walls, and nails driven into baseboards. Best not to question it.
Last Sunday’s ice storm was the perfect day to pull out the Christmas decorations. Knowing it was pointless, I offered to help, (I’m the passive aggressive elf). I made breakfast while the Carpenter tore the place apart looking for his totes. He gave up after finding just a few (because, squirrel) and got to the task at hand, wrapping garland around the stair bannister, intertwined with new colourful lights. New holes were tapped into the drywall and trim to tack down the cords. I said nothing.
He put out a few of the traditional Christmas village pieces, the ceramic Christmas tree, my polar bear figurine, the light-up Santa. But when he found the box containing his personal favourite decorations, he let out a whoop of excitement. I didn’t even have to ask. I knew what he found: the blue Seattle Seahawks ornament; the large, blue ornament with “Carpenter” inscribed on it; and a small white ornament with the blue and red logo of the Quebec Nordiques, (because this diehard fan can’t let go).
In a row along the front window, using small hooks (making for more holes in the ceiling), he hung his favourite ornaments in a row. My Toronto Maple Leafs and my “Writer” ornament were put to the other end.
Then he declared, “The football game starts at 1pm, so this is all I’m doing.”
And that was the end of the holiday decor for now.
I snapped a photo of his ornaments to share on Instagram, because it may not be fancy, but I know the source of our family’s Christmas spirit resides in the good heart of this man. His décor may lack elegance, but he is the reason our house is a home, especially at Christmas.
Santa doesn’t judge. I suspect he’s a Nordiques fan, too.
Writing has been my passion since I learned how to hold a pencil (which I still cannot do properly). Despite my father’s insistence that I would starve to death in this career, I remain well fed and eager to write more. They say you should do what you love: I love to write.