Last year we didn't put up so much as one decoration for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or the New Year. While there were health reasons for that, it still didn't seem right. It was a lesson in disguise, because when we brought all the decorations out this year we were flabbergasted. Mr. S set up a table in the living room and as he unloaded our storage places around the house and brought them out for me, we found ourselves with a mountain of stuff.
That table was covered with boxes, one giant storage container and one small one plus a whole lot of miscellaneous stuff which had accumulated during the year. Even that wasn't all of it. After surveying this giant glob of decorations, our decision was to just say no to about half of the stuff we had.
If this makes me sound like The Grinch... trust that I'm not. What I learned this year is that we are just not as perky as we used to be. We were lucky to be able to get the tree down from the garage rafters and get it assembled. It took me the better part of two days to decorate the tree and place my favorite Christmas decorations around the house.
Favorite is the key word here. I am saving the best of our memories. When it comes to tree decorations, each one is a treasure which stays buried in the guest room closet for about 350 days each year. I love them all and won't be donating those, though I retain the right to give some of them away. Each one has a story. Each one helps us retrieve a memory from our lives that we don't want to forget. Some memories are sad but still sweet. Most are filled with happiness and take us back to times when we REALLY decorated.
With my first husband, I decorated every surface in our home. I learned this from my first and all-time favorite mother-in-law, Blondie. While I came from a family that loved Christmas, we just didn't have a lot of decorations because we moved whenever the US Navy told us to. Not Blondie. EVERY room in her house was ready for the holidays. I had never decorated a bathroom before I knew her. I didn't know you were supposed to. I even put lights on the white cherub holding resin grapes. I won't ask you to admit that you had a white cherub or the resin grapes but I'll bet you did. It would help me if I knew you did. I'd feel a lot better about my life.
The electric bill shot up because you could not miss our house. My husband was his mother's son. He put up lights on everything. I was surprised the girls didn't have lights wrapped around them. By the time we finished our decorating chores we were exhausted but because we were young, we bounced right back.
Let's just say that my beloved Mr. S is not a Christmas light kind of guy. I have had to rely on the kindness of his buddies on many years to get this done. Finally I gave up because the wind blew down our best efforts anyway.
By now you must know that we aren't the Griswalds. The only lights you'll see here are the ones inside shining out.
Now back to what we have learned by thinning the herd of decorations. Just because you have it, you don't need it. If you don't put it up or just don't have the energy to, you must ask yourself if it's really necessary. If it's not you should get rid of it. A good example is my Christmas Village. At one point it filled our entire bay window. When I couldn't put it all up, it sat in the closet all alone for a few years. When my youngest grandson said he'd love to have it, I was joyous.
This year we have a much better understanding of what we can and can not do. In a sense, our years on this planet are showing us the way. That path does not include the huge storage container filled with everything from lighted garland to serving dishes. We do not need these things now and our lives are better for letting them go. Hopefully, a young family will use them and love them like we did once.
In the meantime I urge you to enjoy your holiday seasons, from Valentine's Day and Easter to Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year with only those decorations you can comfortably arrange. If you can't decorate, just don't. Oh and don't you dare feel any guilt. You've put in your time and you deserve to enjoy holidays without wearing your Geezer self out! Have a good week, my friends!
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