No matter what month it is, I find myself counting down the days till I can listen to Christmas music. I know. You’ve just stopped reading. You hate me. I’m one of those “rush the season” types. I decorate for Fall in early September. I fill the air with scents of Spiced Pumpkin and Autumn Wreath. I have a mantel of fall leaves, pumpkins and scarecrows throughout the house.
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved the holidays. I used to watch my mom decorate the house. It was always an adventure. She’d dig out the boxes and we’d go through them, strategically placing them throughout the house, while listening to music and dancing around. She’d change curtains, bathroom rugs, bedspreads. She was all in!
Once the house was decorated, we’d sit and admire our work over a cup of hot cocoa, topped with a big gob of marshmallow. I’ve always loved how our house looked after it was decorated and the feeling of joy that another holiday was upon us. I guess it’s one of the traditions that I was excited to carry down when I got married and had children.
My husband thinks I’m nuts. He and the kids will leave in the morning, and by the time they get home, the house has been transformed, inside and out. I am big on surprises, and love the look on the kids’ faces when they get off the bus and see the decorations from the driveway. What can I say? It makes me happy.
But Christmas…that’s a whole different story. I start listening to Christmas music in early November. Secretly. In my car. Alone. Driving to the store or picking up the dry cleaning. There’s something about Bing Crosby singing, “Christmas Dreaming” that brings me joy. I listen to Christmas music as I’m preparing Thanksgiving dinner. And after Thanksgiving, literally, the night of, after the turkey-induced sleepiness has worn off and the dishes are washed and put away, those decorations come down and the Christmas decorations come out.
The Christmas decorations are stored in our hotter-than-hell attic, and each box weighs about 30 lbs. But since I’m all about surprises, I wait until the kids go to bed, and sneak up to the attic, like the Grinch, but in a good way. I carry down every single box until I’m a big, sweaty mess. Not gonna lie, with menopause I’m pretty much ALWAYS a big, sweaty mess! But I digress…
Decorating the house takes hours. My husband doesn’t understand why I walk around the house with a wreath in hand, wondering where I put it last year. I scroll through the pictures on my phone until I come to pics of last year, and see where everything went. Every year. I literally can’t help myself. Everything needs to go where it was last year. It’s tradition.
When I’m done, I walk from room to room, knowing that in a few hours the kids will be home and come up the front steps to see their house transformed. And while they aren’t littles anymore, I see the smiles on their faces when they walk around and see their stockings, their favorite Santa pillow, and the garland on the fireplace.
And so, begins another holiday season of baking and basting, of family and friends. I am giddy with excitement to host another Thanksgiving this year. I love decorating the dining room table with pumpkins and leaves, creating my own place settings with pinecones found in our yard.
I use my grandmother’s stuffing recipe, spend hours on my butternut squash, and the pies, my God, the pies! But once it’s over, and family has gone home, it’s all about Christmas!
And of course, I’ll call my mom to come over and see the decorations. I want her to know how much I loved our traditions growing up, and because of her, I’ve continued them.
When she arrives, we’ll sit and reminisce over a cup of hot cocoa topped with a big gob of marshmallow.