Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Ornaments: The Child Edition

I love setting up a Christmas tree. At Green Acres, this process is pretty simple. We store our tree in a closet upstairs and it is pre-lit. Saves a lot of time, effort, and brain cells.

Putting up the tree was such a production when I was growing up. We had to clean up the living room and then form an assembly line from the garage in through the kitchen. Five kids made this assembly line pretty efficient. Dad would go up into the attic and grab tree branches and hand them down and we would scurry back and forth piling all the same-sized branches in separate piles in the living room.

Then Dad would come in and set up the base. We would hand him branches to put in the right places and sometimes we would help put them in, until we couldn't reach anymore. Then Dad would put the top of the tree on and mess with it for a while, smoothing out branches and making sure it looked "just so."

Once the tree was assembled, we were banished from tree set-up until Dad had put the lights on. This was always an excruciatingly long process. He would check to make sure all the bulbs were lit, string a bit, take it off, re-do it and on and on. We would come in and check on him, see if he was almost done, fling open the ornament box and plan which ones we would hang first, fight over a few, get sent to our rooms, get sent to the basement to grab a different string of lightbulbs, and on and on.

Finally we could put ornaments on. I had my favorites. I loved the little pram with a top you could flip back and forth. I loved the little cheesemaker you could spin around and around. And I loved the little china doll in the red and white checkered dress. And then I played with the ornaments the rest of the Christmas season.

Yes, you read that right. After the painful process of putting up the tree correctly (and I didn't even get into the tinsel catastrophes) I would remove ornaments from their place and use the Christmas tree as my own personal dollhouse. Even baby Jesus was snatched from the little barn house in front of the tree for my reindeer games. He liked to play hide and seek - as in, I would hide him on the tree and have another sibling find him. Is this sacrilegious? In any case, the little china doll was married to the clown whose legs moved up and down with a string, and that was why they had the pram, except baby Jesus didn't fit in the pram, which was very unfortunate.

I wonder if I will have a little girl someday who plays with the ornaments on the tree. I wonder if I will be upset with this practice, after the effort of putting up the tree. I look at some of the ornaments that we have... and I think that they are just begging for little hands to pull them down. The Mister has quite a classic car collection... and I have a few fun ones, including this little guy, Mr. Pengy.

For now, it's just me naming my ornaments. You should see the Gatlinburg Grizzly, and the Marshmallow Man! Perhaps this post should be called: Why I Need Therapy: Christmas Ornament Edition?


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