Are you ready for Christmas? I am. In fact, I have been for quite a while.
Now that doesn’t mean our house is ready. We did have some real help decorating last weekend. The tree is in its proper place on top of the end table in front of the window between the sofa and the rocking chair. It’s only a four-foot tree, but it looks six feet tall on top of the end table, and we don’t have to find another place for the table.
Choosing which decorations to put on the tree is always a walk down memory lane. Most have been with us for a long time. There are ornament gifts from family, former students, and friends along with hand crafted ones from our children’s school days.
The old coal bin in the basement was cleaned and painted years ago and now serves as a storage locker for the Christmas stuff. It is full to overflowing. So why can’t I find enough matching wreaths or garlands to make at least one room look properly coordinated?
I have gone to the day-after-Christmas sales for years and bought items at half-price to decorate the following year. I pack them all away, and then the next year when those decorations are not available, I always come up one short of what I need.
There is one exception to this rule. Poinsettias. I seem to have enough of those artificial Christmas flowers to start my own greenhouse. There are pots of them and stems of them. There are red, pink, and white ones. There are bushes of green holly with red berries. I am glad they are artificial because I can cram them in plastic or paper bags and boxes, and leave them in the dark basement until I need them.
Originally it was not my intention to be the poinsettia queen of this county. However, my parents took responsibility for decorating the family graves at appropriate times. When they were no longer able, I was blessed with that responsibility. That, coupled with a real affinity for buying things on sale, led to a poinsettia-laden basement. You can afford a whole lot of fake flowers when they’re selling them for ten cents a bush the week after Christmas.
Now while awaiting their ultimate fate there is no reason to leave them in the basement for years, so I stick them all over the house for decorations at Christmas. During the rest of the year they brighten the basement when we turn on the light and descend the steps on an errand.
Our refrigerator is not ready for Christmas either. I still need to clean it out to make room for all the food that will chill in it. That gets done the garbage day before Christmas. A lot of other clutter is eliminated the same day to make room for the whole family to come home.
Of course, I have to wait until the kitchen clutter is gone before I can do the grocery shopping, so I haven’t bought the food supplies yet or even planned the menu.
So, the house, especially the kitchen isn’t ready for Christmas. The gifts aren’t wrapped. In fact, the menu isn’t even planned yet. But I am ready for Christmas!
The gifts I’ll wrap are up in the attic along with the wrapping paper, ribbon, and tags. It’s been too cold to go up there. Surely by Christmas Eve I’ll make it. It wouldn’t be the first time I’m busy wrapping gifts as the guests arrive. Besides, I have never had anyone turn down a gift because it wasn’t wrapped, or even because it was late. Most of the gifts we give are in envelopes anyway.
Christmas Eve is the biggest, best birthday party of the year. I know there will be a birthday cake for the baby Jesus, and when I watch the little ones blow out the candles I’ll see all the children who have ever been here for Christmas.
Oh boy, am I ever ready for Christmas.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Daily Advocate on Dec. 20, 2000.
Kathleen Floyd is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her column Back Around the House II. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.