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True Tales of Christmas Insanity
The Thanksgiving leftovers weren’t even in their Tupperware yet when my brother-in-law sighed, pushed himself away from the table and began trudging away, in the general direction of the attic.
“Where’s he going?” my brother P.D. asked our sister Amy, John’s wife.
John overheard and hollered ... well, what he said was not exactly in the spirit of Thanksgiving, if you get my drift.
“He has to bring down the Christmas decorations,” Amy interpreted. “I’m going to have this place all together by Saturday.”
We pause here to look at the timeline of events that is about to unfold:
It is Thanksgiving afternoon, about 3 p.m.
The Christmas decorations are coming out of their hiding places.
The next day will be Black Friday, when my sister joins the hordes of Frantic Holiday Shoppers out there jamming the highways and clogging the malls in search of four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves, and this year’s Elmo doll.
My sister traditionally takes Black Friday at face value. That is, she starts shopping when the sky is black, and she doesn’t return until it’s black again.
The deadline for decorating the house is Saturday.
OK. So much for the timeline.
Now let’s go to inventory.
Amy is not one of those people who believes that less is more, where Christmas is concerned. Oh, no. More is more. And more is what she wants.
She has three Christmas trees. Garland on every horizontal surface. Pictures on the walls. Knickknacks on the mantle. Lighted figures outside. Lighted figures inside. Boughs of holly. Mistletoe. Candy dishes. Candles. Lords-a-leaping. Ladies dancing. Patridges. Pear trees.
I honestly believe she won’t be happy until she can just to move everything in her house to temporary storage each December, and replace it with Christmas furniture, right down to the Christmas footstools and Christmas lamps.
Add the inventory to the timeline and you can see my sister’s plan to have her house Santa Claus Ship-Shape by Saturday is the dream of someone who is out of her mind.
She gets it from Mom. Mom was a Christmas nut in her day, too, although not to the degree that Amy exhibits. Mom’s focus was the tree. According to the Mom rules, each branch of a tree was capable of holding two to three ornaments, in addition to a light bulb. The objective was to display Mom’s collection of ornaments, which numbered in the thousands or, as she liked to remind us, one more than Aunt Nelta’s.
For Amy to get it all done, and done by her exacting standards (Mom times two) requires several things. An abundance of energy for the all-nighter you’re about to pull. As much help as you can get from family, including Mom, P.D. and two teenagers who would rather eat dog food than hang Christmas ornaments. And most of all, an understanding husband who learned long ago not to stand between my sister and Festive Yuletide Splendor.
And every year, somehow, it gets done.
Really, it’s an inspiration to us all. Not the husband-and-wife stuff. Or the family stuff. I mean the decorations. They’re fabulous. They really make the house a holiday delight.
Which reminds me: Time for me to head to MY attic. Amy’s not the only one to fall under Mom’s bad influence.
I should invite John over to help.
© 2008 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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