As I lay in bed last weekend trying to eek in a few extra minutes of sleep, I had a sense the kids were already up and raring to go. There is a pattern to their morning behavior, beginning with the not-so-discreet whispering outside my bedroom and ending with the repeated opening and closing of the door (slamming, really), to peek in and make sure I am still in there. What was the reason for their excitement? I had promised them we'd hang our Christmas decorations, or as I call it, perform the Dance of the Rubbermaids.
Like many families every year following Thanksgiving and Black Friday, we perform this ritual. We turn on Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker suite to inspire us and then one by one, cart down the Christmas Rubbermaid tubs from the garage attic. Maneuvering the large tubs from the tiny attic entry into our cozy house without running into anyone or breaking anything is, in itself, like performing a choreographed ballet. Once the Rubbermaids are down and in the house, it's a free-for-all.
The kids' excitement overtakes any semblance of organization I may have had to the bins and before I know it, artificial greenery is strewn on the floor and ornaments are being unwrapped and hung on a half-assembled tree. We continue this process of "hanging up Christmas" for hours, unpacking gold-spray painted wreaths made of macaroni noodles and construction paper Santa heads with cotton ball beards along handmade ornaments from my grandmothers. Along the way, there are the "Oohs", "Aahs", and the occasional "Oops, that was a bad idea of me mommy- I'm not that careful" as an ornament or two gets crushed.
By the evening, the kids' interest in decorating has waned. While my son's attention has moved under the tree, analyzing the size, weight and potential contents of each of the wrapped gifts, my daughter can be found playing with Nativity Set, taking Baby Jesus out for a ride around the living room atop one of the wooden camels. So, that leaves my husband and I to perform the Rubbermaid pas de deux. What comes down must go up, so bins are re-stocked with fall tchotchke and tucked back up in the attic for the holidays.
Is decorating for Christmas a somewhat chaotic process around our house? Definitely. Is the end result something you'd see in a holiday issue of Better Homes & Gardens? Definitely not. But, it is uniquely ours and has made the tradition of preparing for Christmas just as special to us as Christmas itself.