Sunday, December 22, 2013

Deck the Halls!

Hey everyone! Yesterday was our first day of winter break, and our family got to go to a nearby Christmas tree farm to cut down our tree. I was a little iffy about our choice at first, because the tree seemed a little lumpy and misshapen in spots, but once we had cut it down and brought it home, I realized it wasn't really such a bad little tree. Like Mom said, it had a lot of character. And like Linus said in A Charlie Brown Christmas, it just needed a little love.

We had to wait until this morning to put it up, though, because we got home late yesterday and Mom promised that we could put it up today. After putting down plastic sheets to protect the floor from falling needles, Dad brought it through the side door and settled it in its little tree stand in the living room. He and Mom cleaned up the needles while I brought in the box of ornaments to start decorating.

Zoe was sitting in one of our beanbag chairs, reading a Sports Illustrated magazine with the book she was supposed to be reading for homework lying on the floor with its spine open.

"C'mon Zoe!" I cried as I staggered in with the boxes of ornaments in my arms.

She looked up in surprise and hastily tried to shove the magazine under the beanbag, while picking up Sebastian the Striped Sea Bass with her other hand.

I set the heavy boxes down with a thump! next to the tree.

"What are you waiting for?" I cried. "Christmas! Ornaments! Decorating!"

"Hmm?" she asked as she looked up from the book on her lap, feigning surprise.

"Knock it off, Zoe, I know you haven't been reading that book this whole time."
"Oh yeah?" she challenged. "And how do you know that?"

"The book's upside-down," I said matter-of-factly, turning back to the pile of boxes. I heard her sigh and heave herself up from the beanbag chair, then come over to survey the tree.

"It's cute," she said simply. I nodded as I sat down with the box of lights.

"There's a hundred of them?" I asked incredulously as I pulled the bundle from the box. "My gosh, we're never going to be able to fit all of those on the tree."

"We'll just - coil them up at the bottom or something," was Zoe's solution. I shrugged. We'd figure out something.
I pulled yard after yard of the lights from the box and brought the whole bundle of them over to the tree.

We started winding the wires over the branches until they covered the whole tree.

The extra amount of lights actually worked out - the outlet was all the way around the corner, and we had just enough excess wire to reach it.

Zoe opened the shoebox full of the shiny, colorful baubles, while I claimed the box of fun ornaments.

In my box, there was a pair of cookies, a pair of popcorn boxes, two slices of cake with ice cream dollops on the top, two poptarts, a jingly pumpkin, and two strands of silver stars from last year. Some new additions included two slices of apple pie and two mini Christmas trees, as well as two hamburgers and two peapods that aren't in the picture because they didn't fit in this box.
I held up one of the slices of pie. That was one of my favorites.

I attached a hook, then made my way over to the tree, where I hung it over a sturdy branch.

After all the ornaments had been hung, I found the golden star in its special box and reached over to put on the very top of the tree.

But even though I stood on my tippy-toes, I was still just out of reach of the top! So I dragged the now-empty shoebox over to the base of the tree and stepped up on it.

With the extra height, I was just tall enough to place the star on the very top of the tree and twine its wires securely around the branch.

I stood back and Zoe plunked down in her beanbag to admire the now-almost-completed tree. It fairly sparkled in the lamplight.

"Almost completed?" Zoe groaned. "What's left?"
"Just one more thing," I said, as I disappeared around the corner. I heard her cry of protest as I turned out all the lights, but then a gasp as I plugged in the end of the huge light chain. I came back around the corner to see.

We stood back to admire our tree. I couldn't believe I'd ever had doubts about taking it home. It looked so pretty, all lit up like it was.

Zoe slid her arm around my shoulders in a rare display of sisterly affection.
"We make good tree," she said simply. I had to agree.

Only three more days until Christmas, and only two more doors to be opened on our advent calendar! I'm so excited! Mom has told us that we absolutely can't go into the furnace room off the basement, Zoe's forbidden me from looking in her dresser, and I've told everyone that they just can't look in the hallway closet. I like mysteries like these, don't you? Do you celebrate Christmas? If not, what do you celebrate? If you do, what sort of traditions do you have in your family?

That's all for now! Thanks for reading!

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