I’m a big fan of Christmas traditions. This is the one time of the year when “doing things the way we’ve always done them” feels not only right, but almost mandatory. I love trimming my tree with ornaments I’ve had for decades, and I do it while listening to Nat King Cole’s Christmas music, just the way my family did when I was a child. I find it both meaningful and comforting to carry on old family Christmas traditions….most of the time. But there are a few traditions that I would love to abandon, if only I could.
I could do without the nasty Christmas cold I manage to come down with every year, and just once I’d like the breakfast casserole I make for Christmas morning to turn out the way the recipe promised. But it never does. It’s either under-cooked and soggy, or over-cooked and dry, and it always sticks to the baking dish. Still, my family chokes it down each year and assures me that it tastes just fine, because (of course) that casserole is a Christmas tradition.
But if I could abandon just one of my Christmas traditions, it would be the annual battle to put the lights on my Christmas tree. I prefer the large, old-fashioned lights that throw out a warm, cozy glow on a dark night, just like the ones my family has always used. You’d think that putting a few strands of them on the tree would be easy. But each and every year year, something goes dreadfully wrong when we try to light up our tree.
Last year the Christmas lights I had been using finally wore out and refused to work, so I embarked on a frantic search for replacement lights. Which every single store I went to seemed to be sold out of. I even gave the LED lights a try, but after carefully putting them on the tree I realized that while they are indeed bright to look at, they don’t actually light up a room. Eventually, after much time and effort, I did find some satisfactory lights and was able to spend my December evenings basking in their glow.
This year I had the lights and figured it would take twenty minutes, tops, to string them and then we could hang the ornaments. I was wrong. I put the lights on the tree, but then realized there weren’t nearly enough. So I took them back off, found another strand in our basement and put them all back on again. Then the strand in the middle of the tree stopped working, so I took those off while my husband went to the store to get some more. By the time we finally got the tree lit and looking good, the entire afternoon was shot and we decided to go have pizza and hang the stupid ornaments the next day.
But at least the lights are on the tree, and soon I can add the ornaments. My Nat King Cole CD is still working (I checked), so I think I’m all set. By this time tomorrow my tree will be fully decorated and I can just relax and enjoy the rest of the season. Until, of course, I catch my annual Christmas cold….