Every year I try very hard to embrace the joy of Christmas. I really do. But putting up Christmas decorations in combination with my sixty-seven year old body continue to beat up on my Christmas spirit. First there is the inside of the house that needs decorating. And each and every year my wife insists I play a part in her misery.
Before the decorating can begin, all the other items on the walls, counter tops, shelves and mantles that decorate the house the rest of the year must come down, be boxed up and put away, not to mention the furniture rearranging that is required. Then the boxes containing all the Christmas decorations must be drug out and unpacked to fill all the vacated space. Luckily one tradition has changed. After years of invading our forest land for their bows and a tree, my wife finally admitted the dead pine and cedar needles that fall and seek out every nook and cranny of the floor was not worth the trouble. So we have gone artificial. Fake tree, fake bows, fake everything. If it were possible to purchase, I would own an inflatable fake house already decorated. But I guess an old man can only ask for so much. But even so, a whole day is required to complete the task of decorating the inside. And for what? Three weeks tops before it all must come down, once more replacing the empty spaces with the normal home decoration that were doing a fine job of occupying our home to begin with. Then once the inside is completed to my wife’s satisfaction, she then points her evil finger to the outside of the house.
I would love to know how Christmas lights go bad sitting in the attic. It has to be paranormal. I know for a fact, I could unscrew any one of our home lightbulbs, let it sit for ten years or more and it would proudly light up when screwed back in. Every time! But not so with those devilish little colored lights. Their elements magically vaporize while doing absolutely nothing but laying in a bag. And to make matters worse, when one light goes out, at least half of the strand if not all the lights go out. So each year I always make the annual trek to our local department store to purchase more outside lights.
After two hundred and fifty trips up and down a ladder, our home’s eaves are lighted. And after Christmas with legs still aching from climbing the ladder, I make a valiant yet futile case to my wife. Why not leave them up year around? Unlit, they would never be noticed. Her crossed arms and cold stare reveals her thoughts concerning my brilliant idea. Then there are the bushes, shrubs and trees my wife religiously believes can not be ignored. If it’s growing on our property it must have lights on it. Once the lights are adorning every living thing in our yard, then it’s a matter of connecting them all together with electrical chords before running their extension cords to the power. Of course it’s back to the department store to purchase more light chords that somehow mysteriously disappear every year.
When plugged in half the neighborhood dims, and the electric use meter on the side of the house begins spinning like the tachometer on a big block Chevrolet at full throttle. And then three weeks tops it all has to come down. And the amazing aspect of the outside lights? Everyone enjoys them but me who endured the misery of putting them up. Neighbors across the street enjoy them. Occupants of autos driving by enjoy them. Joggers enjoy them. I sit in the house with most of the lights totally out of view. Ironic!
So another season is about to begin, and tomorrow I will once again drag the Christmas lights down from the attic, and once again discard half of them, and once again make my annual pilgrimages to the department store. Hopefully the ground won’t be wet from recent rains as happened one year. Standing on soggy grass while handling electrical cords already plugged in can cause wonderfully strange tinglings throughout the body. But it could have been far worse. My Christmas lights could have accidentally became a home-made heart defibrillator. But only tomorrow will tell what forms of misery awaits me….