Getting the tree up yesterday was almost an anticlimax!
Monday night I got the glider rocker out of the way, moved James' end table over about three inches, and vacuumed the space. Why I'll never know, because once James toted the tree upstairs, there were artificial "needles" everywhere.
Yesterday was my birthday and I took the day off. After sleeping late until eight and having breakfast, Operation Tree commenced! I had been dismayed when I first plugged in the tree because, once again, part of a string of lights was out. However, as I ate breakfast, it came back on. Have no idea why.
Put on some of my Christmas cassettes and spent about an hour fluffing and refastening lights to branches. Then I unloaded the wooden box that used to be the stand for the tree when we had "Sara," who was a shorter tree. I put the boxed ornament sets on one side, the unique glass ornaments in the middle, and the plastic/cloth/resin ornaments (this includes the Hallmark and the Carleton ornaments) at the right. I started with the sets because most of them are the older ornaments. I put them to the back of the tree, facing the foyer. They glimmer as brightly, and it's hard to see from down there that they are faded. A few of the sets are new, like the four chickadee ornaments and the six bright silver holly balls, and those go at the front, along with the satin balls. Next I started putting on the larger glass ornaments, like the 1930s car with the wreath on it, the sailboat, the parrot, etc., then the medium-sized ones, like the pine cones. Each time I found a small one, I would put it aside as a filler ornament. Finally I placed the ones made of other materials than glass. Again, any small ones were set aside. The "wrapped gifts" were scattered mostly to one side, the pine cones one to either side, and others dotted around. Finally the small ornaments were fitted into small holes.
After about three cassettes I remembered that, hey, it is my birthday and I can break into the birthday gift I bought myself. On Black Friday, the Sullivan Entertainment site had the remastered, widescreen version of Anne of Green Gables and the remastered sequel on sale for half price (I wasn't interested in The Continuing Story, which Kevin Sullivan made up whole cloth—it was Anne and Gilbert's children who were young adults during World War I, not Anne and Gilbert!—nor the New Beginning, which turned Anne's backstory in the original book into a lie). Half of $30 each was certainly a good savings, although the postage nearly made my hair turn white. So I put Anne on and it was really splendid, especially the scenes of Prince Edward Island countryside! Cried in several places, stopped to eat, then girded my loins and began to tinsel. Once silver was spilling down the back of the tree, I pushed it inch by inch into the corner, then finished the front. It's like a lovely silver waterfall down the height of the tree.
I cleaned up as I went, so there was little to vacuum up, and then I set the manger down, lovingly piece by piece, between the V of branches I made at the bottom of the tree and lined with appropriate ornaments: the lion and the lamb, two different Hallmark shepherd boys, stable animals surrounding the baby, a lamb, and St. Nicholas. (St. Francis I left up near the bird ornaments.)
I was already hurting anyway, so before and after James coming home and eating supper, I finally vacuumed the rest of the main floor, since it wasn't worth vacuuming until James got the tree upstairs, and then those everlasting stairs. I also swept the downstairs hall, put the stools back in place, vacuumed out the "Christmas closet," and put the last few boxes put back, and vacuumed out the laundry room.
Before bed, to make sure Willow didn't go near the tree, I brought out all the presents and surrounded it.
Let's say my back wasn't happy when I finished, and, boy, when I had a chance for a nap today, despite it being in the 40s out, I fell asleep happily under my blanket until the alarm went off (heck, I went immediately into REM sleep, dreaming about a blackout at the house, and my rear-view mirror falling off).