Sunday, November 25, 2012

Black Friday and a Christmas Explosion

I participated in Black Friday. ONCE. It was a few years ago and what inspired me to do so continues to mystify me, as I find dealing with the general public to be a challenge on a good day. Let alone at 4 a.m. when all of those shopping maniacs (no offense if you are one) are fueled by the promise of a bargain, pumpkin pie, and a fresh dose of family dysfunction. Also, I place fairly high value on the functionality of my internal organs and I'm just not willing to be trampled for the last of the $20 Barbie Beach Houses or $49 blue-ray players. It should be noted that I do love shopping and I'm a sucker for amazing sales. I would be sure to return home with at least 3 of everything, regardless of whether or not I had anyone to gift said items. So I've found it's best I skip that shopping opportunity.

What I do instead is stay home and orchestrate a Christmas explosion all over our house. Had it been up to the children we would have started this immediately after our Thanksgiving meal, but by then I had exactly enough energy left to change into my stretchy pants and waddle to the couch. Decorating would have to wait until tomorrow. About half an hour into the whining and "But, Mommmmm!" I agreed to let them get the bins out of the closet and LOOK at the decorations. By the time they drug everything out, it was nearing an acceptable hour to enforce bedtime so I managed to successfully delay the activity until the next day.

THIS...was just going to have to wait til tomorrow.

Friday morning (after about 3 cups coffee) I was able to overcome what was left of my tryptophan hangover and get on with our day-after-Thanksgiving tradition as planned.

Step One: Assemble trees. Plural. Each child has one in their room. There is also one by the staircase in the entryway, and one in the living room. You see, I am my own worst enemy. Fortunately, the kids' trees are small and they are now old enough to assemble and decorate them themselves. Which is a good thing because while they were busying themselves with that project, I was able to put together the others and discover that approximately 2/3 of the lights on each no longer worked. Not totally surprising, but still worthy of a few minutes of creative swear word combinations and a brief episode of lying face down in the floor.

Not even an hour into this and I'm ready to quit. NO! It is Christmas - dammit - and we are going to be jolly. So I pull myself up, go turn on the iPod "Holiday" playlist, and move on to the next step.

Step Two: Set up all the other junk. Since we couldn't decorate the tree without working lights, I decided the next thing we should do is get out the rest of the holiday paraphernalia I have collected through the years. Since it is our first Christmas in this house, finding a place for everything would require a bit of trial and error. We have all of the same furniture, so it was actually easier than I anticipated. It still took HOURS, and other than a brief meltdown related to an unfortunate glass ornament situation, this part went well.

Step Three: Venture out to get replacement lights and "a few other things" I added to the list throughout the day. Since I managed to cover all but three square inches of the kitchen counter with packing paper and Christmas totes, we decided to go out for dinner. I made it abundantly clear before we left the house that we were going to get the things we needed while we were out because "it won't kill you all to be in Michael's for 15 (or 45) minutes so I don't have to get back out so please just deal with it".

Since Charming was with us, I realized we were in danger of walking out with all sorts of things we don't need. "Kids, keep an eye on Dad." (No, really.) He wandered through the aisles of model cars and planes and 3000 piece puzzles, but the only "extra" he managed to sneak in the cart was a box of Sweet Tart flavored candy canes.

Michael's didn't have everything on my list, OF COURSE, so I was going to need to go to Target. I knew that was asking a bit much, so I took Dimples and Charming back home so Tink and I could finish shopping in peace. We found everything else we needed and returned home. Starbucks in hand...I was finishing this TONIGHT.

Step Four: For the love of God and all things holy, are we ever going to finish this?! We managed to get lights on most of the branches and the decorations on the trees. I lovingly hung the garland from the staircase. "Don't scratch up the banister!", Charming yells from across the room. "What's that? You don't think I should scratch up the banister we JUST had refinished? Really? You are such a killjoy." (I've chosen to edit how I really responded.) We cleaned up all of the empty bins and turned out the lights to admire the Christmas wonderland we had created.

It was midnight. We started at 10 a.m. Fourteen straight hours of decorating. But in the midst of headless Wise Men, broken ornaments, and pre-lit trees that no longer light up, the magic of Christmas started to reappear through the eyes of my kids.

And then I started to see it, too.


  1. There is a big blank space, is a photo supposed to be at the end? That sure is a lot of stuff but mom says your house looked nice all decorated. The pawrents are not doing a Black Friday but have somehow gotten 4 new GPS's in route. (Two will be returned.) Happy Decorating and remember to message mom your mailing address so me and Stanley can send Oliver & Autumn cards!

    Your Friends in Search of Santa Paws,

    Murphy & Stanley

    1. No picture. I just got happy with the 'enter' key I guess.

  2. This sounds so eerily familiar. It required a straight shot of Crown Royal waaaaay before 5:00. I knew when Pandora had been playing Classical Christmas for four hours and things weren't improving that I was in trouble.

    1. It's the project that never ends. I have been to Michael's 4 times. Twinkle lights will be responsible for my ultimate demise.

  3. That's funny, you have a great sense of humor. We have yet to start on the decorations, with two twelve year olds that fight and bicker, and two dogs.Thanks for sharing. I'm hoping to stash away some of those tiny bottles of Bailey's for the day that we do decorate.

    1. Tiny bottles? I say go for the full size. Christmas decorating is worthy of being at least a little tipsy.


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