On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, or maybe the Saturday after that, Brian and the boys drag the tree up from the basement and set it up. That about sums up their involvement...........not that they don't want to be involved, but.....
On Sunday, I will "light" the tree. The tree is 12 feet tall and putting on the lights is a chore. It doesn't contribute to the holiday spirit one iota. It mostly takes away from the holiday spirit and the spirit of the Sabbath. Here's how it goes.........
I test each strand of lights individually. I plug a strand in. I see it works. I wrangle it up the ladder and wrestle it around the top of the tree by putting one foot on the step that says, "This is NOT a step" and the other on the "really this is not a step" 1" piece of metal on the other side of the ladder. I pull the tree toward me and it's a delicate dance as I convince the tree to submit to having lights strung and convince myself that if I fall, I will be "saved" by the tree.
I'm not so worried about bodily injury. It's what lighting the tree does to my soul that is so dangerous! On this one night, I risk my entire eternal salvation.
As soon as one strand is up, I test them AGAIN before plugging a second pretested strand in. And you can pretty well predict what happens. Yeah, the lights that lit up brightly while on the ground refuse to shine up in the tree.
This is when the Christmas spirit goes out the window. This is when I begin to speak in tongues. This is when the children scatter and I feel a little like the dad in Christmas Story.
There are some words I refuse to use, but there are others that flow freely.
"Gosh darnit!" I stomp back up the ladder and start to pull the strand out. "This blankety blank piece of blank tree." I yank. I'm no longer delicate with the lights or the tree and the top third of the tree spins and teeters. I launch into my mini temper tantrum atop of the ladder "I hate this blankety blank tree and these stupid blank blank lights. This always happens. These piece of crap lights are stupid. The Chinese are out to get us." The tirade goes on.
At this point, Trammell, the mature one, comes back in, "Mom, would you like some help?"
"NO! I hate this blankety blank blank tree. This is what I hate about Christmas!"
"Mom, really, let me help. You don't need to swear. It's not that big of a deal."
Oh yeah it is! The kids disappear to locales unknown. I tromp up and down the ladder with lights muttering under my breath. Somehow the lights go up. The tree stands in all it's glory, covered in 1,000 twinkling white lights.
I make the final ascent armed with the star and the barbecue tongs. One last time, I pull the top of the tree toward me and gingerly settle the star on top. The letting the tree spring back into place, I bat at the star with the barbeque tongs until it is almost straight or as straight as it's going to get.
Climbing down the ladder, I look at the tree and even undecorated, it is a sight to behold. It really is pretty and it's almost worth the effort.
That's it for the night. We go to bed. We don't decorate it until the next day. That gives me time to repent and to regain the Christmas spirit. It gives the the kids time to work through the whole "lighting ceremony" with their therapists. We reconvene on Monday to put up the ornaments.