In true Griswold style, I want to make the family Christmas special for the family, in particular the kids. They need to know it’s Christmas and that it stands for spending time with the family, decorations, trees, lights and of course presents.
And this year, we learned something new!
My oldest daughter and I spent a few hours putting up the family Christmas lights, on the outside of the house, which consisted of about 4 lines of lights. Not much if you look at our neighbor’s house, but it’s a start for us. Either way, we were pretty happy with the result considering the limited resources we had, i.e. actual Christmas lights.
That same weekend we also collected the family Christmas tree, which is turning into a special event for the kids. We get all dressed up in winter gear, woolen hats and gloves, before setting out on the adventures.
This normally takes us to the local garden center, where we walk down the isles of already pre cut Christmas trees. The challenge is to find the tree that “talks” to you. You try to visualize it in your living room (which normally means pretending us living on South Fork Ranch, with high ceilings) and of course one that’s wide enough to hold all the ornaments from the Giant Christmas Decoration Basket.
We tend to go for a tree that’s about a foot taller than our living room and when you cut the net away, the branches knock over the kids. Pretty much in line with Clark Griswold’s strategy. And this year was no exception.
The tree was picked by the girls this year and delivered to the living-room by me. The fecking thing must’ve weighed 50lbs and it was not easy navigation this sucker up the stairs from the garage. Lessons learned from previous years reminded me NOT to cut off the net wrapping the tree’s branches until the tree had been secured in the tree foot.
I carefully placed the tree in the specially made Christmas tree foot, and asked my oldest daughter to hold the tree while I screwed in the supporting screws. After about 10 minutes of tweaked the pressure of each screw, we claimed victory and the tree balanced perfectly.
The next 30 minutes was spent putting on the lights and all the ornaments from the Giant Christmas Decoration Basket. This obviously includes what ever Christmas decorations the kids have made over the years. At the end, we have a beautiful tree that sparkles with colors and lights … and displays our artistic skills.
While away from the living-room for a mere 8 minutes, playing with my son in another room, when I suddenly heard a large thump. The direction came from the living-room. it could only mean one thing – tree down!
Sure enough, when I arrived at the scene of the crime, the tree was lying on the side (still sparkling and with lights on) and next to it was my youngest daughter. It didn’t need much CSI skills to quickly determine that had happened.
My youngest had her arms full of Christmas ornaments. I guess she had felt an urgent need to re-organize some of the decorations, as we had obviously not done a good enough job the first time. Thankfully she had not been hit by the tree, but it was clear that she got a fright as this huge tree thumped down in front of her.
I quickly raised the tree into it’s upright position and attempted to tighten the screws again. For some reason this was proving to be a huge challenge and whatever I did the tree still kept falling over. In my desperation I started to beat up the Christmas tree foot, despite knowing it would not resolve my problem at hand. But, someone had to pay for this!
The Christmas foot was made for much larger trees and provided little or no balance support for the tree we had bought. As a result I had to put several pieces of wood into the foot, between tree and foot, to give it support.
As I was placing the fallen ornaments back on the tree, my youngest daughter was walking around cleaning up her toys. Suddenly I heard some utter the F-word. Not only once, but multiple times. The voice was pretty clear and did not belong to my wife or my evil twin. On the contrary and to my horror, it came from our youngest daughter, who had picked up a new word while I had been swearing at and beating up the Christmas foot.
You can’t laugh or correct this behavior by getting upset, as this normally has the reverse effect, so we just had to ignore it … at least for a while. If we gave out to her then she might repeat it and if we laughed she would definitely repeat it. Either way, we parents were screwed and had to accept the fact that our daughter’s vocabulary had been expanded. I just hope she doesn’t utter this word in day-care 🙂 Imagine the feedback we would get.
So, what did we learn this weekend? The Christmas tree was up and standing, the house decorated inside and out and our daughter learned a new what that we cannot repeat.