We don’t have a real Christmas tree because we have a winter wood stove. The Spruce and Balsams dry out too quickly, even with constant watering. It’s a fire hazard. Instead, we have the store-bought unscented kind with bendable branches. Our fake tree is also a bit dated given today’s options. It isn’t prelit, so we add four strings of lights. The artificial tree also comes apart, in three sections, and the branches are coded like the alphabet and are hung one at a time. This Oh! Christmas tree puzzle fits into four boxes. The ornaments, stockings, house decor and holiday hand towels are another four Rubbermaid bins. It’s a festivus of moving and storage at Christmas time.
This year our tree went up late in the season because we waited for the girls to come home from college. Given all the invested setup time, we kept it up until after the New Year. I packed it all away after our college girls went on their way. Now we had eight buckets that needed to go down two flights of stairs back into cellar storage.
I enjoy the process of unpacking and packing each year. All the Christmas cards are saved from season to season and there are homemade ornaments from Girl Scout camps, high school and family gatherings. Going through the photos and crafts brings me down memory lane.
Hauling all those bins back where they belong is good exercise but after getting it all repacked, I was ready to ask for some help with my DIY Christmas undecorating routine. I carried one bin down the first flight and then asked my husband if he could bring the rest down after he finished watching his oil painting show? I probably could have finished moving them all before the episode was over but getting Richie involved, only after all the packing, was more than fair.
Instead, I used my time another way. I went back to the staircase to admire the memory lane our girls had created. The wall alongside now includes just the right photos of the four of us, silly moments and photos of both sets of grandparents. The beautiful new gallery includes vintage photos and eclectic frames. I couldn’t have displayed the family timeline better myself.
I already missed the family being together, so I decided to enjoy my down time with our pets. I put the dog’s pillow next to my rocker and put a cat in my lap. I literally rocked back and forth, wondered what the girls were doing and then picked up where I left off in the book I was reading.
Chapter 9 was soon interrupted by a thunderously loud crash.
I ran back to the staircase and thank God, Richie was okay.
My Christmas helper was standing against the wall with the end of one bin in his right hand and his coffee cup and book in the other. Evidently he didn’t recall that the bins were heavy and required two hands for his descent. He was still holding everything but had fallen against our new memory wall. Our two girls and ancestors were an avalanche of glass and broken frames at my feet.
My DIY packing project had packed a wallop.
I’d have to put the photo gallery back up but first we had to pack up all the jagged glass.
It was Christmas all over again as we wrapped and packed the glass into paper bags…and made plans to go shopping again, this time for glass. I swept the floor and pulled out the vacuum as Richie left to meet his Mom and brother for their weekly breakfast.
Now I was really by myself. I finished my original DIY project by bringing the rest of the bins into the cellar. After all, it’s not a DIY if you don’t do it Y. It had already taken me longer than if I had just finished it myself anyway.
The woodstove was burning, there were still Christmas pictures to look at and I had another DIY project ahead of me.
“Oh! Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree…of all the trees most lovely. Each year you bring me delight.”
You’re real to me.