This weekend, we picked up the Christmas photo card -- no small feat, as first I had to take a decent photo of three Hufflings, preferably all looking the same way and smiling nicely. This of course took three separate shoots to do, and the outcome was not three Hufflings all looking the same way and smiling nicely, though it definitely captures their character -- made a list of who will be receiving them (it's an elite group this year, what with the insane cost of stamps and all) and pulled out the recipes for the baking we’d like to do. At this point, it feels like we’re done, but I can’t help thinking that we maybe haven’t actually sent any cards or baked any cookies. Or shopped. Huh.
At least the tree is up.
Saturday’s fun included getting the living room ready for Christmas, which is a ritual in itself, before the tree even goes up. This is how it goes down: First, mandatory Christmas music plays. ALL TOYS get put away in their designated spot (upstairs or downstairs, just not in my living room), donated, or thrown out. This is actually a lot more fun to do than it sounds to most people. I looooove to declutter. Any non-Christmas books also get put away - upstairs or downstairs, just not in my living room! The end tables get moved out, the couch gets moved, the 57 toys under the couch go through the keep/donate/throw out exercise, I sweep again and again, and Chris brings the xmas bins from the garage and the lovely, pre-lit tree in its old, dilapidated cardboard box, onto the back deck.
This year, I cut through the 8th layer of packing tape holding the box shut (it is, after all, 8 years old) and take out the tree, one piece at a time. Top piece (still on the deck): shake shake shake, so extra loose “needles” fall out now while it's outside, bring it in. Middle piece: shake shake shake. Bottom piece: shake sha--- wait, is that mouse poop? The bottom of the box is full of mouse poop. On inspection, the last tree piece has several fluffy nests wending through its branches (also full of mouse poop). I shake and shake, get the vacuum (Chris’ recommendation…which I was surprised by, because he has a very strong reaction to mouse poop and its alleged murderous properties, which is why I refer to any mice that he sees as “hantamice”), vacuum for a while, wonder how good is good enough... when I see a bunch of wires all chewed up.
My scream of BAH! HUMBUG! was heard by the children inside the house, on the other side of the sliding glass doors. My lovely tree is not only a hantatree,* but it is a fire hazard.
Vaughn was gearing up to get upset when I said that we had to throw out the tree, but cheered right up when I typed in “Canadian Tire” on the google. He and Chris went out to pick it up at once.
The new tree is lovely and pre-lit, too. It's 7.5 feet tall, and combines real-feel tips with less-real-feel tips, but was on sale, and was the last one in the store, so that's alright.
The old tree was dragged to the curb, clearly marked with a sign saying "Please leave for garbage: Fire hazard, full of mouse poop and chewed wires." It felt strange to leave such a sign, as most things we put out front are gone within 30 minutes, to be rehomed. Chris even had to talk a woman out of taking it.
All this to say, even if nothing else is ready, even if the rest of the house is a bit of a disaster, and if the living room has a magnetic attraction for every non-Christmas toy or book to reappear every 15 minutes, ruining my imaginary holiday kingdom, and if we're out of Bailey's... wait, where was I going with this?
* Am quite disappointed in myself for not somehow working Hanta Claus into this one.