Deck the halls

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Christmas

I enjoy Christmas decor. I am a huge fan of the entire season from start to end. I am all about a good sparkle, twinkle and glow. What I do NOT love is the actual act of decorating.  Basically, I love the end result. I loathe the process.

As I have grown, I realize that this is an ongoing theme in my life. I am not “crafty” because, again, I do not embrace the process. I just want to get through the hands-on part to sit back and enjoy the end result.

Over the years, my decor has been over the top. I did my time as Santa’s dedicated decor Elf. At one point, we had six Christmas trees — one on every floor of the house and each occupied bedroom. I put wreaths on every window and (battery-operated) candles in every window.

Mr. Wonderful set up a little battery-operated train under the Christmas tree. BoyWonder put his action figures on it. More than once I saw a little firefighter or plastic jet pilot riding around in comfort and holiday style.

Past

In my own 1970s/1980s childhood, most people had one Christmas tree and maybe a wreath on the door. I don’t remember seeing a single garland. Did they exist? Can anyone recall? It goes without saying that all Christmas lights were multicolored. Small primary colored bulbs for the tree. The ones used outdoors were big, fat bulbs.

There might be a dusty Christmas candle that was molten and faded. It was dusted off annually and placed out to be burned for maybe an hour or two. It lasted for decades. Some folks got a bit frisky and hung plastic mistletoe. I had an advent calendar that was paper. There was no candy, trinket, or “prize” each day — just the sheer thrill of opening a little door and counting down the days. In short, it was glorious.

Naturally, I grew into a person that put wreaths everywhere. By the time I reached adulthood, I leaned hard into the idea that multiple trees, white lights and heaps of wreaths were a sign that we had really arrived. As a human magpie, I do love shiny objects. At one point I had LIGHTED wreaths in every room including the bathrooms.

In case you’re wondering, a lighted wreath hanging over the toilet lends more a “Las Vegas” than a vintage holiday vibe. I could never bring myself to do blinking white lights. It felt too much like a roadside diner sign flashing “Eat at Joe’s.”

When the children were small, it was all about the excess. A holiday hand soap dispenser that played “Jingle Bells” when pressed? Yes, please! For the record, GirlWonder bought that from her first job when she was 16 years old. Sleigh bells on every door. Garland on every mantel. Wreaths everywhere. There was just a lot of ribbon and glitter. Again, glorious.

Then the children grew up and out. I still love decor but I’m simpler these days. Some greenery. White lights. My wreath hoard has been lessened. I mean I think six wreaths is a reasonable amount. Possibly not enough honestly. It’s what I can handle these days.

I keep wandering around the house moving things around. Taking some things away. I get excited about special Christmas coffee mugs. Cute and practical. Doesn’t take up much space. Zero glitter fallout.

In a similar “love the result, loathe the process” vein — I love beautifully wrapped gifts. I do not, however, enjoy wrapping gifts. GirlWonder has a vendetta against gift bags. Probably from a childhood of having the cat unwrapping her presents before she could?

We like a nice wrapped box. The issue being that gift wrapping is the holiday cousin of folding laundry. Sure, it feels great to have it done, but the process itself isn’t exactly a party.

The end result is always worth it, however. I will continue to deck the halls and haul out the holly. Then I will sit back, sip a hot beverage out of a Christmas cup, and think to myself that what we really need around here is one more wreath.

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Kymberly Foster Seabolt lives in rural Appalachia with the always popular Mr. Wonderful, two small dogs, one large cat, two wandering goats, and a growing extended family.

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