When we boxed up a large majority of our earthly possessions last summer, we didn't have a really good idea of what we'd do when the holidays came along. Which is to say, we didn't know how the whole decorating thing would work. I let it slide that we didn't decorate for the beginning of autumn.
But to not decorate for Christmas? Um. No.
I got a little bit twitchy thinking about it and almost felt compelled to go shopping for a Christmas soap dispenser, which by the way, I'm not particularly fond of (on account of having to put soap into the dispenser, and then when Christmas is over you have to take the soap out, and I end up wasting soap and wasting time cleaning out all the blasted little crevices inside those Christmas dispensers and for the love of mistletoe and holly it just makes me so mad, which I think is counter-intuitive for Christmas soap dispensers, but I digress...).
So even though for all of about 2 minutes we thought of not getting a tree, in the end it seemed so utterly ridiculous to not get a tree. Afterall, Oregon is the leading Christmas tree grower in the country. No one can top the 8 million trees that grow here. (North Carolina is a distant 2nd with 3.5 million.) We felt it was our civic duty to go buy one. Supporting the economy and buying local and all that.
It's fine if you don't get a tree, but we just had to. It's who we are.
Just like last year, we went to Tucker's Tree Farm the weekend after Thanksgiving, although unlike last year, we didn't have a saw, so we let the nice chainsaw-wielding guy cut it down for us. Very gentlemanly of him.
Also unlike last year, we don't have any ornaments to put on the tree. While in theory we could unbox all our Christmas stuff, we didn't. Because it would have been a lot of work, and really exhausting, and there's no reason to go and exhaust ourselves for the sake of jolliness. That's so not jolly.
We turned to plan B.
I gave Sydney a small budget, and we headed off to Walmart where she picked out some twinkly lights, a box of ornaments, and a star for the top of the tree. The ornaments may be plastic, but they have glitter. The star may have only cost $6, but Sydney never fails to proclaim how beautiful it is.
We made paper chains and snowflakes, and for once in my holiday life, I didn't micromanage at all.
The ornaments are hung low. The paper chains are relatively short. And the glitter and tinsel are everywhere. I don't have to scold anyone to be careful, or don't break, or watch out. It's fabulous.
We also made a quick trip to the craft store (because any trip with Jules where a million breakable things are within reach has to be quick), and got all the necessary supplies for our Advent calendar. (Afterwards I saw that this style was listed as an idea at Amanda's Best Advent Calendar list.)
The girls decorated the envelopes, and I helped string each one up on twine with mini-clothespins. Each morning, as we turn over the previous day's envelope, we think of something we are thankful for from the day before. And our words of thankfulness are what get "tucked" into the envelopes.
Sydney told me how she wanted me to hang the calendar.
It makes me smile.
We don't have our wreath or Christmas dishes or our beloved Christmas lava lamp. We don't have our traditional ornaments hanging from the tree (although if I miss them too much, I can always click back to the ornament page I made a few years ago). We won't even put up stockings here at the apartment.
But we have gingerbread cookies. And eggnog. And Christmas music.
And one of the best Christmas trees ever.