Published Friday, December 21, 2012
We are decorating for Christmas. It’s quite an ordeal.
In past years the kids would help Ninja Man put lights all over the outside of the house. Yes, we were “those” neighbors, the ones who illuminate the whole block and cause folks to wonder how high the electric bill is. Ninja Man wanted a huge light display in the yard while I wanted a classic, clean look. We compromised on white lights for me, covering every surface for him.
Since he is the Ninja Man, he used PVC pipe and wire to construct huge Christmas trees that must have been 12 feet tall. He was nearly giddy when he discovered icicle lights at the store. He bought a ton and hung them from every gutter. He placed blue lights on the ground and stood two mechanical reindeer at the edge, giving the appearance of deer by a pond. In the daylight it looked like a terrible mess but at night it was a stunning display.
My job was to decorate the inside of the house. There were nutcrackers, our favorite tabletop nativity, a few snowmen and of course the tree, complete with ornaments made by hand. Smaller trees were placed in bathrooms and bedrooms, and one on the bar in the kitchen.
Our screened porch had year round white lights already installed. I balked when Ninja Man put them up in the summer, but they created such an ambiance at night that as soon as he turned them on I didn’t care a smidge that they were “Christmas” lights.
A few weeks ago Ninja Man and I began discussing decorating the house. It’s a different house in a different neighborhood, with a teeny tiny yard just right for empty nesters.
We decided not to put the big nativity outside this year, and the reindeer were just too much trouble. We can’t find the tree and are pretty sure we donated it last year in favor of finding a pre-lit one on sale.
After a couple of weeks of consideration Ninja brought the boxes of interior decorations down from the attic last weekend. I’ve been walking around those boxes all week due to a recurring back issue.
It changes a lot when the kids are grown and gone. We don’t give parties and don’t really have folks over, so the decorating is just for us. Sometimes it’s worth it, sometimes it’s not.
This morning I decided to empty those boxes. The manger scene was waiting, figurines secure in the plastic bag where they’ve spent the last 11 months. The nutcrackers with those funny expressions were lying in the bottom of a huge plastic tub like the little soldiers they are, arms held firmly by their sides. Artificial greenery floated on the top of them, waiting to be boughs on my porch rail.
There’s no tree yet, and I’m not paying the high prices for a pretty pre-lit in favor of finding a good sale any day now. Rumor has it they will be marked down tomorrow, so I’m hoping to find one like Ninja Man wants then.
Those tiny trees are now in every room, Christmas music is playing on the TV and the dogs are wondering what in the world I am doing. The back porch of this house also has white lights that we turn on every night of the year so it’s already decorated.
Besides the tree, the final touch is the flag on the front porch. I’m changing out the fall themed one for the poinsettia that is festive and brilliant in color.
Since we are all meeting at our daughter’s house for Christmas our kids probably won’t even see the display this year but we will. It’s our nest, however empty it may be, and it’s my job to see to it that we enjoy this special time of the year. And I’m doing just that.
Kathy Bohannon is a weekly contributor to The Newnan Times-Herald, and author of Gardens of Savannah. Kathy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .