“Deck Those Halls and Trim Those Trees”

Today, The Engineer and I (finally!) got down the Christmas decorations. And when I say The Engineer and I got them down, I should add two things: 1) Getting them down is as far as his contributions go as he is not a fan of holidays, and 2) We are not a family who goes overboard with holiday decor because #1.

The job/duty/joy of decorating has traditionally fallen to me, then Darling Daughter and I, and now me again.

Also for the record, I should admit DD has told me in recent years I always made her feel she wasn’t doing it right. Since I didn’t realize I was quite that bad of a control freak, I’m very sorry for acting that way.

Perhaps it serves me right that I’m stuck doing it alone.

As I’ve gotten older, I find myself wanting to simplify the holiday season while at the same time wanting it to be as magical as it was when I was young and later when Darling Daughter was a child.

I guess what I really want is a Christmas Fairy to come along and put up all the ornaments and decorations I’ve collected through the years, and then come back and take it all down sometime around New Year’s.

In the absence of said fairy, it falls to me. And once we have all the crates down, I find myself enjoying the process.

This year, for some reason, I found myself humming The Waitresses’ “Christmas Wrapping.” (You can click through for the song, although the video is kind of a non-event despite featuring a tablecloth I know my mother once owned.)

You may or may not know (and I didn’t until I looked the song up after hearing it on my very favorite Christmas CD, “The Edge of Christmas”), The Waitresses were a New Wave band from Akron, Ohio. They formed in 1978, which means they were likely performing in Akron around the time I was going to college there.

And yet, I never heard of them until driving across town to buy “The Edge of Christmas.” Apparently (and unsurprisingly), I was not as cool as I thought I was when I was in school.

Yes, I bought the CD before iTunes and cell phones existed (I’m old; I admit it). I used my land line to call every record shop (and they were still called that because CDs were actually pretty new back then) in the Cleveland area to locate the disk. I wanted it because it has the all-time best Christmas song ever, “The Little Drummer Boy (Peace on Earth).” (Don’t try to tell me any different because I’m not listening.)

Anyway, “The Edge of Christmas” is a great CD, and also includes (along with Bing, Bowie and The Waitresses) the second best holiday song, “Fairytale of New York” by the Pogues, featuring Kirsty Macoll and a theme that’s about as different from Bing and Bowie as it could be.

But I digress.

The point is tonight I decked our halls and trimmed our tree and sang The Waitresses.

Our tree has a lot of handmade ornaments — some crocheted by a friend who does a different design every year for her card, a few from Darling Daughter’s younger years, and some from my mom’s years attending ceramics class. (The cat is from then too.)
More ceramic class results: the big lighted tree and two smaller ones, along with the third Santa from the left.
My manger is also one of Mom’s projects. It’s just four pieces, which fit together like a puzzle.
I’ve included this second view so you can see the small angel, also made by Mom back when I still spelled my name “Kim.”
And from the “I can make stuff too” school of decorating, here’s one more tree decked out with some of last year’s “Super Scrappy” Christmas stars. In looking up that post, I noticed I shared Bing and Bowie in it too. I’m nothing if not consistent with my holiday likes and dislikes. 🙂

Speaking of scrappy, dig these great bees I bought from my friend Joyce.

These girls are made from steel drums.

Joyce does mission work in Haiti with E=H: Education Equals Hope , and I like to buy stuff from her because the money goes right back to the artisans and to support the lunch program at the schools there.

A few years ago, I bought some other pieces of metalwork from her, and this year I had the idea of asking if the artist could do some bees. I was really pleased with the results and ordered four, three for us and one for a friend who also keeps bees. Aren’t they great? The Engineer suggested we hang them outside on the trees aound our hives, and I think that’s a wonderful idea.

Meanwhile, on a completely different subject, that same beekeeper friend taught me to make pierogis this week!

One recipe makes a lot and I may share a few … not too many because I love pierogis!

All this decking the halls and trimming the trees and making pierogis and sending cards and even winterizing the bees have been challenging to fit in because The Engineer went to Canada to work for eight days and ended up staying for two weeks. Then, my co-worker got a severe case of COVID and has been out, so I picked up an extra day at work for a few weeks, which probably doesn’t seem like much, but it did change my plans quite a bit.

The good news is she’s on the mend and will be back doing half-days at the end of the week. I’m pleased for her sake, but also for mine because I’d really like to do some Christmas baking, and next week, another friend and I are having a “cooking with phyllo” day at my house.

We’re doing this because after spending hours (NOT exaggerating) attempting to sign up for a similar class at a local college, we decided to just give up and buy phyllo and do our own thing.

If we are successful, I’ll try to remember to take pictures to share. If we are calamitously unsuccessful, I’ll do the same. 🙂