Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Over the weekend, like many families, we spent a lot of time preparing our house for Christmas. Icicle lights glow outside with a grazing reindeer, garland along the banisters, beautiful bows of red and gold and green… but most important of all, the Christmas tree! In years past, we’ve had a small 3ft. tree because we were concerned that Hala (now almost 3 years old) would get to it, knock it over or worse, eat it. We knew this year she would “get it” a little more – the whole Christmas story – so we decided to have a big tree.
Early last week Hala said to me, “Mama, I want Chris-cross tree,” to which I giggled and responded, “Okay Hunny, on Friday you can come with me and Daddy and help pick out a Christmas tree.” She said, “I want BIG one.” Perfect, I thought, this was going to really be a fun year to see her helping and getting excited about all the preparation. So, Friday night we went out to get the tree. She walked around the lot and picked one out nice and tall and round. Daddy paid and Hala watched from behind my leg as the friendly couple trimmed it up. We got it set up in front of the window in the living room, and explained that we had to let the branches rest overnight before we decorate it with pretty lights and ornaments.
On Saturday, we set out to buy lights and hooks for the tree. (I had purchased ornaments and ribbon last year during the after Christmas sales, so that’s really all we needed.) Now, keep in mind this was only December 3rd – can you believe that 3 stores were all sold out of white lights AND ornament hooks!? We finally came across some LED lights at Lowe’s, along with some hooks at the grocery store. I thought, okay, now we are set to make our tree simply beautiful! But wait, Juan also requested tinsel for the tree – “Every tree just has to have tinsel,” he said. As we search isle by isle, I notice it on the bottom shelf – “here you go, Babe”, I said, as I picked up a box (containing 1,000 strands) and tossed it in the cart. “Wait!” said Juan, “That’s not enough! The more the better!” He proceeded to pick up TEN more boxes (again, 1,000 strands each), and tossed them into the cart. I’m looking at him, mouth drawn open. Now, you have to know Juan – he is extremely difficult to read. Surely he’s joking, I thought. At 67 cents a box, surely this is just some silly joke, just play along. “Yeah, okay, that’s your deal,” I respond.
When we get home, Hala goes upstairs for a nap, and Mama and Daddy string the lights so the tree is ready when Hala gets up. She helps Mama get all the ornaments on the tree. Red ones and green ones and bronze… Hala’s favorite seemed to be the Little Einstein’s rocket that Grandma got her last year. She very consciously hung each ornament on the tree – usually on one of the bottom branches and typically 3-4 ornaments per branch (gotta love kids!) Dinner wrapped up the evening with the plan for Daddy and Hala to hang the tinsel the next day. When the time came, I was upstairs stringing garland, and told Hala to go downstairs and help Daddy string the tinsel. When I came downstairs I could not believe my eyes. They used, not one, not two…. But TEN boxes of tinsel on the tree! You can’t even see the tree! It looks completely silver. I was shocked. He really, really did it. I can’t believe he really used TEN boxes, 10,000 strands of tinsel, on our 7 foot tree.
Now, I honestly do miss the beautiful tree underneath all that tinsel. But… it’s more important to me to have the whole family involved with the preparation and feeling like they are making the holiday special. I just smile to myself and to Juan each time he mentions how beautiful our tree now looks. Tinsel or no tinsel, the holiday will still come, and we will still build lasting memories, like this and more. I’m not sure what small stuff you may run across this year… just remember it’s just that, small stuff. Happy Holidays!