Watch yourself out there. Christmas really is the most blunderful time of the year.
Not only is yuletide labor intensive, it’s also cold, dark and icy — perfect conditions for hurting yourself while trying to capture the true spirit of the season.
I know. I fell off the roof of our house years ago, dragging 100 feet of electrical cord, a light-up Santa and the rain gutter with me. That wasn’t so bad. It was landing on the lawn furniture I still hadn’t put away that really hurt.
That was the last time my wife allowed me on the roof for Christmas. After that accident, our decorations were restricted to ground level. Two years ago, the restriction tightened and we only put them inside the windows.
Now for the good news. For the first time in our marriage, my wife and I are not decorating for Christmas. No lights, garland, tree, glowing lawn figures or simmering potpourri. Hell, we’re not even going to put a wreath on the door.
Instead, we’re going to have the traditional mature people holiday season. We’ll sit quietly in our recliners, periodically stirring to ask the other, “Have you figured out what you want for Christmas yet?”
It’s a pointless question, because neither of us is getting what we honestly want.
Her • “I want world peace.”
Me • “I want my shoulder to stop hurting.”
None of this means we won’t have a great traditional Christmas. The actual holiday decorations are upstairs, where my daughter, her husband and three of our grandkids live. They’re still in the magical Christmas mood.
They have a 13-foot tree in the front room. That is NOT an exaggeration. The tree touches the top of a vaulted ceiling normally not seen outside of a cathedral. Some of the ornaments are the size of basketballs.
Garlands wrap the bannister. Pictures adorn the walls. The smell of pine scents the air. The sound of groaning fills the air, too, as boxes of additional decorations are dragged in from the garage. The house should be satisfactorily decorated by, say, February.
My grandkids are still young enough to be wound up by the sight of Christmas coming together. They have their wish lists taped to the refrigerator. One of them is nine pages.
Although they may be a bit overly expectant, I have good grandkids. They don’t just think about themselves on Christmas. The other day, I overheard them talking about what to get “Grammy” and “Papa” for Christmas.
Grandchild No. 1 • “I’m getting Grammy a book she wants.”
Grandchild No. 2 • “I got her some cookie cutters.”
Grandchild No. 3 • “Papa wants weed medicine. What’s that?”
After reminding one another that their mother had repeatedly told them to never get Papa what he wants without checking with Grammy first, they moved on to other family members.
I don’t know when my wife and I stopped getting each other presents for Christmas. Somewhere along the line, the money we spent on each other just seemed to get spread around to the grandkids.
Also, we already have everything we want. Come Christmas morning, we’ll stagger blearily up the stairs to a front room lit up like a casino.
We’ll sit together on the sofa while the treasures we started giving each other years ago rip into their own presents.