If you’ve been a Suburban Diva reader over the years, you know that it wouldn’t be the holidays without a transcript of the Christmas decoration discussion between my husband and I. If you’re new to this subject, let me enlighten.
When it comes to holiday decorating, I am inspired more by House Beautiful, he, Animal House. I’m Lord and Taylor, he’s more Lord of the Flies. I’m all about It’s a Wonderful Life, he’s a Lifetime Original movie. Potato, potahto.
So this year we gathered as we do every first Saturday in December to discuss the decorating plan. Now that the kids are older, we have allowed them to be on the planning committee, but they do yet realize they are non-voting members.
Him: What’ll it be this year, kids? Tacky or classy?
Five voices in unison: Classy!
Him: Tacky it is! Great choice.
Me: Honey, we’re still kind of new to this neighborhood, don’t you think we should ease off just a bit?
Him: Ease off??? This is the perfect time to strike! Establish who we are as a light entity.
Me: Um, I think Middle Tennessee Electric Company has that title. And the sun.
Him: Exactly. I want others to be drawn into our orbit.
Me: (Mumbling) And I kind of want our house to be hit by a meteor, so I guess that works out for both of us.
Him: What was that, dear?
Me: I said that sounds stellar, darling. Let’s get started.
A few hours later...
Son: Dad, I saw these new poles they have in the store now that are made especially to hang Christmas lights. They come with little plastic hooks that attach to the gutter so you don’t need to climb on the roof anymore.
Him: Where’d you see those? In the ladies skirt department?
Son: No, but it might work better than the golf club and kitchen tongs we’re using now.
Him: You know, back in my day, we didn’t have fancy things like poles and “grounding wire” and “ladders with all their rungs.” We hung lights with frayed cords and asbestos bulbs. My Dad would take me out in 4 feet of snow and a lightning storm and have me string lights on a rusted weather vane 8 stories high on a pitched roof. Barefoot.
Son: How was there lightning in a snow storm?
Him: Because that’s how things were back then--TOUGH. But we liked it because that’s what Christmas is all about.
Son: Mom! Dad’s turning into a villian from Scooby-Doo again.
Me: It’s Christmas. This is what it does to him. (Noticing progress.) Um, honey? Not to be critical, but do you think that manger you’re constructing is rather....tall? And shiny?
Him: Not in the least bit. If the original had been to this scale, perhaps it wouldn’t have taken the Wise Men until January 6th to find Him.
Me: He was born unto a Virgin, not under a Virgin Mobile tower.
Him: Potato, potahto.
Much later that night, after I slather sunscreen on the kids and we all go outside to admire the finished product.
Me: Please don’t look directly at the lights, guys. View it through this piece of cardboard with a pin prick through it.
Kids: That’s so cool!
I look over at my husband who is standing on the sidewalk with a tear in his eye that I don’t believe resulted from the glare of the LED lights on the team of reindeer.
Me: Oh honey, it’s beautiful. What’s wrong?
Him: Nothing. I was just thinking that the kids are growing up so fast and soon they will be doing this with their own children someday soon.
Me: Not if I don’t get those lead capes across their torsos while we’re standing here.
Him: (Ignoring me.) It seems like just yesterday I was standing on the sidewalk with my Dad admiring our illuminated masterpiece. (Glances over at smiling children.) And I’m so proud of all of them.
Me: Aw, because of their cat-like reflexes when you drop hammers and staple guns from the roof?
Him: (Wiping the tear away.) No, because already at their young ages they’ve learned to ignore the neighbors slowing down in front of the house and threatening to call the Homeowner’s Association.
Me: The milestone we as parents dream of.
Maybe it’s more Ground Control and Major Tom thing. Potato, potahto.
At least it’s merry and bright.
©2012 Tracey Henry