When I picked up my cell phone yesterday morning, the Flipboard magazine article on the screen was titled: “Top 11 Holiday Decorating Don’ts.” (It’s on housebeautiful.com if you really need to see it.) My reaction was simple: I am so not ready to begin decorating for the holidays. I’m not ready for shopping or wrapping or baking, and yet it’s already December: time to put away the pumpkins and pull out the tinsel. I don’t know why I’m not in the mood to decorate.
This malaise is unusual. I’m usually eager to start setting up the house for Christmas and one would think that this year I would have started already. One needed a sleigh to get to my house this Thanksgiving. One minute I’m raking leaves; the next minute I’m shoveling snow. Most of the snow has melted, but it’s still a winter wonderland outside. Yesterday there was a Winter Weather advisory and we had a few flurries. Nothing says Christmas like snow. And yet I feel a little like the Grinch. Bahh!!
Please don’t ask why for I don’t know the reason. It could be the toothache that wakes me at night. It could be the back muscles have become a bit tight. I think that the most likely reason of all may be that my energy is sapped from chasing someone quite small.
But whatever the reason, I can’t stop Christmas from coming. Yesterday morning, my grandson spied the snowman placemats that I bought for the kitchen table. “Snow! Snow! Snow!” he demanded, pushing away the Thanksgiving placemat at his place. So I put out the Christmas placemats. The ceramic pumpkin that held a flower arrangement now looked out of place, so I dug out a Christmas container and made a new arrangement. Then a shelf in the kitchen where I had a tray with a Thanksgiving scene, some dried fall flowers and a small turkey bothered me so I found some gnomes and reindeer. The reindeer made me think of the family room mantle. I had a new reindeer for there. So I put out the three reindeer and hung the wooden Santa a student gave me years ago. But now I need to buy white pillar candles.
Why do all this? Why stress over decorating the house? The reason is that I am not decorating a house—I am decorating my home. What we do to get ready for the seasons makes our dwellings more than shelter. These personal touches define us. When we first moved here, I was quite taken by a home around the corner. It was a larger, newer colonial than mine. The entrance to the house was warm and inviting. The owners had wooden Adirondack chairs on the porch. Large planters framed the steps to the house, holding flowers or plants that reflected the season. Then one day the occupants moved, the chairs were gone, and the house is an empty husk. One can’t easily see my house from the street but I want it to glow with warmth and hospitality. I want it to say “welcome” to those who come by. I want it to radiate with the magic of the season.
So I have hung evergreen wreaths on the lamppost at the end of the driveway, on the deck, on the front door. I hung red and white bows on the lampposts along the driveway. I have put away the turkeys and hauled out the Nativity sets and nutcrackers. This evening I will put battery powered candles in the windows. The more I do, the more my ennui dissipates.
This afternoon I began to plan where to put my trees. (I’ll buy them this weekend). I’m thinking three this year—one in the living room, a small one in the family room and a small one in the dining room. I can put my small artificial tree in the basement. Speaking of the basement, I’ve got to go now while my grandson is taking a nap. Somewhere down there is my Grinch doll. It wouldn’t be the Christmas season without him.