Saturday, January 05, 2008

Bumper Crop of Christmas Lights

"Billy & Bertie" - 8 x 10" work in progress, colored pencil on drafting film.
Copyright 2007 Maggie Stiefvater.
click here for custom portrait info.

Today I took down my Christmas tree and decorations. This year, like every other year, I am again (unreasonably) amazed at the circle of life Christmas decorations undergo each year. It's like the African plains or something, give and take, ebb and flo.

This December, for instance, was a particularly dry December, which I think must be good for Christmas lights, as there was a bumper crop of them on our tree. While I only put three strings on the tree when I put the tree up, I had to take six strings off. And some of them were the blinking kind, which is kinda cool. The second generation is actually evolving to a more desirable form -- maybe next year there will be colored ones.

On the other hand, it was apparently a bad year for Christmas balls. I had four boxes of various sizes of Christmas balls when I started. Nice little white ones, like pearls (I don't wear pearls, but my tree looks good in them). And some white ones with gold trim. Then some middle-sized gold ones that are doomed, like an unnamed minion in a James Bond movie, by their uniform sameness. And some pretty hand-painted ones that makes me scream.

(Like so:
WILL: Mama, look! Mama! A ball! Oh . . .
ME: AAAAAAAAAAAH! Will, put that down!!)

Anyway, bad year for Christmas balls. I only needed three boxes to put them away. I think possibly their numbers were culled by the aggressively territorial Baby's First Christmas ornaments. We started out with, I dunno, two or three of those. I mean, we only have two kids, and they only had one first Christmas each (this would seem obvious, but tell that to our ornaments). This year, I put six Baby's First Christmas ornaments into the Christmas box from the tree. Thank goodness I didn't put the wedding ornaments on this year. Even though I've only been married once, the second year we were married, the population of wedding-related ornaments exploded. Must've liked the warm December we had.

The final problem we seem to have at Christmastime is that all of our decorations with faces eventually run away. Hand-painted penguin with cute face? Gone. Left a note:

Dear Maggie. You painted my left eye slightly bigger than my right. Baby's First Christmas ornaments won't stop laughing at me while they're reproducing. Have a nice life.

And the little cute cat ornament? Toast. Who knows where it went. Probably saw the penguin moving and chased it. You know how cats are with moving objects. Oh, and then there's the pickle ornament. It doesn't have a face, but it's gone anyway, and it was a gift, so its loss is particularly heinous. Now pickles, even pickle ornaments, don't strike me as particularly edible (do not argue with me on this; I once toured a pickle factory and am scarred for life), so I don't know what could've happened. Maybe it will turn up. Ornaments do that too, did you notice? Like college professors, they take sabbaticals for a few years, and then return to their old offices before you even begin to miss their smell.

So, farewell, Christmas 2007. You were nice while you lasted. The prime rib was awesome (I made it, how could it not be?) and the apple pie, delectable. And the loot -- good stuff. But next year, I want more glass balls, not lights. Because it was a real pain to unwind six strands of lights, and they didn't fit into the box nicely at all.


Jo Castillo said...

Just think how my almost fifty years of Christmas ornaments, light, etc., still look. We still put old fashioned icicles on the tree. Nice story and a good smile for the evening. Thanks.

Quilt Knit said...

Wonderful story! Just as Jo said, " Think of your fifty years plus to come. Grand memories.


Clever said...

Hi maggie, my first time checking out your blog. I'm browsing around from over on WC. :)

I for one love your brand of humor; you must have bought if from my favorite humor shop, or did you inherit it from an ancestor? anyway, I just got tickled reading this particular one.

We have a similar experience at our house at Christmas, although it typically involves the Baby Jesus. Oh no, he doesn't reproduce, he just goes on sabbatical sometimes. I think he must go south, it is colder here than in Bethlehem I believe.

Anyway, i'm book marking your page and am adding it to MY list of blogs I check everyday (or at least frequently)

See ya around

Maggie Stiefvater said...

Jo - I would put icicles on my tree if my children wouldn't use them as weapons!

Sherrie - if I survive 50 years of raising kids, I imagine I will have more stories than a Vietnam vet.

Margaret - Hey! I think we must've bought our humor at the same shop. So long as we don't both wear it to the same party, I think we're good.