After Thanksgiving I insist that we must put up the Christmas lights outside, the garland around our front door, and drag out the lawn ornaments. Yes, we have lawn ornaments. I can't remember how or why we got them. I distinctly remember, in my my younger years, thinking I would never be one of those people. How tacky. Yet somehow, once I had children my DNA was altered and I find them perfectly acceptable, even charming. Perhaps one day I will snap out of it and return to realizing we aren't the Griswald's.
On the afternoon of the designated outside decorating day the husband dutifully drags out the tall ladder and all the necessary equipment. I have purchased a few new boxes of lights for the tree and we have some from past years for above the porch. In order to keep the boy occupied and out of the way he puts him in charge of opening the boxes and unraveling the lights. In the meantime, the husband is up on the very high ladder hanging lights for the peak of our front porch - a treacherous endeavor at best.
In the meantime, the girl comes out and seizes the strands of lights that the boy has unraveled. She gets herself a step ladder and begins wrapping the strands of lights around branches of a tree in a haphazard fashion. Then the boy joins in with a different strand of lights that are a different color. No no no, I think, the tree lights must be all the same! But I don't interfere because the children are occupied and the chaos has been temporarily contained and the husband can focus on not breaking his neck.
The husband has moved onto the lawn ornaments and by this time the boy has grown bored of light stringing so he decides to help by setting up the spiral tree. There are some pesky nylon strings that he decides must be part of the packaging, and helpfully cuts. Unfortunately these are what hold the shape of the tree. Now our tree springs up, like a giant slinky with a star at the top.
It is getting dark and cold and the children are rioting, so the husband declares the project complete. He plugs in the cords and discovers that only half the icicle lights are working, so only half the peak is lit up. The tree looks like a crazed, multicolor snake, and we have a giant light-up slinky on our lawn. We call it good enough, and go inside.
The next morning, while it's still dark, the husband goes out to get the paper. The light-up moose has fallen over like it has been shot. The lights over the peak have fallen off their nails. They form a rope across the front of our porch, like the finish line at a race. Only lit up. And in icicle form. But wait - the half that had previously been non-functional and dark when it was outlining the peak has come to life and all the lights are working. It is a Christmas miracle, and who are we to mess with that? We leave everything the way it is and go inside for some coffee.