Christmas Transformation

Dear Will:

On Saturday I found myself staring up at the rafters in the garage, anticipating with dread the prospect of hauling down all of the Christmas decorations to begin the annual transformation of our home for the holidays.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Christmas, and I love how our home feels when all of the decorations are in place. But the labor required to get our home into that state is significant: We have to rearrange furniture. We have to find temporary homes for all of the stuff that will be displaced by the things up in the rafters. And worst of all: I have to put up the lights.

Oh, the lights. That part I genuinely despise. I generally put them up wrong the first time, invariably banging my bald head on the eaves a few times during the ordeal. And when at last they’re all in place, I plug them in to discover a short or a failed bulb that renders a whole section inoperable. Others aspire to riches so that they can drive a fancy car. For me, it’s so I can pay someone else to put up the Christmas lights. (Alas, I am not rich.)

After spending a weekend sorting and stashing and propping and plumping, after hooking and hanging and no doubt festooning, I finally get to step back with my wife and kids and admire the work. We’ll put on some favorite Christmas music (my first choice is usually Amy Grant), light the candles in the family room, and sit back to watch things sparkle. And when we do that, my heart finally softens and fills with the spirit of the season. Works like a charm. I just have to get there first.

So Saturday’s the day we’ll begin. No doubt the decorating will extend into our Sunday afternoon, but by this time next week we’ll be enjoying the fruits of our labors. And it will all, once again, be worth it. But between now and then I will anticipate the beginning of the process with enough grinchiness that it will confirm that Christmas cannot come too soon.

If you’re anything like me—and I pray that you aren’t—you may need a little extra push to get into the Christmas spirit. But whether or not you’re like me, may I recommend the annual Community Christmas Celebration as an excellent way to get in the mood and ring in the season. As I may have told you before, the event is a combination of nativity displays and holiday music. We’ve been going nearly every year for over a decade. We love it, as I think you will too.

I hope to see you there. I’ll be the guy with the fresh gash on his forehead and a slowly melting heart.


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