10 December 2010

15 Days Before Christmas

And I finally have the Christmas tree up!

I started at ten and finished at four, and even pushed the tree into the corner, which James usually does. (And I'm paying for it now, being all achy...) But I wanted to finish vacuuming—the floor was a wreck, with artificial needles and tinsel everywhere—and put the manger set up, and that couldn't be done until the tree was in place.

So I put on Christmas specials and just went at it: Christmas Is and The City That Forgot About Christmas, and all of The Christmas That Almost Wasn't (which I find works best if you watch it as a panto like they have in England), and finally How the Grinch Stole Christmas. During the end of the latter I ate some leftovers for lunch and cast a critical eye at the tree and moved some ornaments here and there.

We had one problem: we have a small collection of Hallmark ornaments—an Explorer One, a Lunar Rover, a Freedom 7, and a Defiant from Star Trek—that plug into the light sets and make sounds. Well, no more. The plugs don't fit into the new light strings. The only Hallmark ornament like that that does is the jukebox (not sure why the plugs are different). Bother. I put them under lights so they showed up.

Once lunch was finished, I put Lassie and Timmy Christmas episodes on and went to tinseling the tree. I start from the bottom and layer up, and fight the static electricity every step of the way. The old mylar was bad enough; this super thin stuff is attracted by the slightest bit of a charge. It's really spooky to see it moving toward you. On the other hand, the slightest draft moves the tinsel, so it looks like the tree is alive.

I remember a long line of tinseled trees. Mom always used the icicles and so did most of my relatives. I remember creeping upstairs in my Grandpa's house to go into the dining room where the Christmas tree was at the front window in the dark, the multicolor lights the only illumination in the room and the tinsel reflecting all the colors into shattered prismatic light. The tinsel links me with Mom and all those relatives and neighbors.

After I was done I took a hot shower and three ibuprofin, then lay down for a half hour, and then sat under the tree and put the manger up: the Holy Family in the stable "with ox and ass," and a sheep and an indeterminate animal which I think may be a dog. Then the Three Kings, their camels, and the camel driver on one side, a man offering eggs, a piper boy, two shepherds, a half dozen sheep, a goat and the sheepdog.

And the truck was finished this morning, so they came and picked me up, and I drove it home and now that's done.

James arranged to have a birthday dinner for me tonight with some of our friends. This was great fun. We went to Old Ephraims on Marietta Square. There were pressies—Alice gave me a cool piece of artwork she did of Gregory House—but the company was even better. And in the mail today we received a card from Jen with her official Naval photo! Plus we went out for ice cream afterwards and hunted out Christmas lights on the way home.

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