I've always had in my head a pretty picture of a sweet family tradition - decorating the tree together. In pursuit of my dream, we started having "Tree Decorating Night" last year. That didn't go over very well, as we had purchased a prelit fake one and didn't think to plug it in to check that the lights work until AFTER we had set up the entire tree and even started putting ornaments on it. By that time, the kids were restless, we were annoyed, and it was way past bedtime for the three little guys and a tired pregnant mommy.
This year we attempted the tradition again. My parents came over, we made hot apple cider and big, soft, chewy gingersnap cookies, cranked up the non-traditional Christmas music (much to Hubby's horror), checked that the lights were still working, and proceeded to open up the bins of ornaments.
Thinking only of the two-year-old who would wipe out all the ornaments within two minutes if they were in his reach, I smartly decided to place all the ornaments higher up... on the kitchen table. This way, I figured, the older boys could reach them and Cubby couldn't, we could help Cubby select and hang them on the tree, and everything would be, as they say, honky dorey. (Where did THAT phrase come from anyway?)
What I didn't worry about - but clearly should have - was the older boys actually handling the ornaments. One by one they hauled them off to the tree to hang them, and one by one they started breaking. With a CRASH CRASH here and a CRASH CRASH there, here a CRASH, there a CRASH, everywhere a CRASH CRASH... Yes, several made it safely on to the tree, but they were not breakable in the first place.
Somewhere around the seventh breakage, including sentimental ones from Hubby's childhood like Mickey Mouse and an ornament we got during our first year of marriage, my impatience started to collide with my love of Christmas decorating and my desire to begin this family tradition. I took a few deep breaths, however, and pressed on with a smile. I gobbled about four gingersnaps in a row at this point too, to ease the pain.
It was then that I remembered a few ornaments that I had purchased for 2009, stuffed in a Target bag in my closet. (Which is a funny statement in itself, because there is a sea of Target bags covering my closet floor and rendering it impossible to actually walk IN to my walk in closet and retrieve any clothing. Which is why I wear the same three shirts all the time - they get hung over a chair in my room and I don't actually HAVE to attempt to walk into the closet for clothing.)
Um. What am I writing about? (It's extremely late. 9:00pm.) Oh - new ornaments. I retrieved them, and with great fanfare hid them behind my back and presented them to my husband, saying, "Honey! I found the most wonderful new ornament for us this year!" Tada! It was a Big Ben, which of course, sweetly represented our first four years of marriage which were spent in London. "Cool!" he replied! "Big Ben!" the boys sang in unison. "Perfect!" my parents proclaimed!
And "CRASH" went my precious new ornament, right out of my hands, sending teeny shattered shards of glass all over the lovely new hardwood floors.