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Catching the spirit of the season

The Mommy Chronicles

November 30, 2012
Anne Blankenship ( , The Daily Freeman Journal

We had occasion to drive around the community this week, and what a neat surprise we found. Webster City was all lit up in their finest Christmas lighting. Some have themes and characters gracing their lawns. All over town, people have gone all out to show their Christmas spirit with lights on their houses and decorations in the yards. Net lighting for shrubs and bushes, and icicle lights hang from the eaves of homes. Inflatable snow globes, Santas and reindeer, penguins and elves decorated some lawns.

People must have taken advantage of the November warm fair conditions to get those lights in place. It seems like every year, more and more homeowners get creative and string up the lights.

It was kind of fun to see all of the trees in the windows of homes throughout the community. Not that we were peeping into stranger's windows, but most people were kind enough to open their drapes to show off their shimmering Christmas trees and window displays.

Our tree is up and glowing now. We held off until last Friday to put it up. The tree has seen better days and I think we may have to check out the after-Christmas sales for find a suitable replacement. There are a few "bald spots" that we've tried to fill with larger ornaments and creative branch arranging. But all-in-all, with the lights, tinsel garland and ornaments, I have to admit it's really quite lovely.

The Christmas tree my parents always used to put up was just beautiful. It was always loaded with ornaments - nothing too valuable, other than sentimental, but lovely just the same. Their artificial tree started out as an eight-footer, but over the years, through the loss of some branches and some pruning, it has shrunk down four feet in height. And through the wonders of a really big garbage bag, my dad never have to undecorate it. He simply puts the bag over it, and stashes it away until the next year. Pretty slick.

Buster Dog has found that the lower branches on my tree are the perfect height to get a really good back scratching. He's discovered that if crawls underneath, turns around and then stands up, he can wiggle his way through the branches to get that itchy spot on his back soothed.

He also discovered that he can strip the tinsel off the tree when it becomes entangled in his curly-q tail. Twice this week I've restrung the garland on the tree after he has dragged through the living room, down the hallway and under the bed with his tail.

While we avoided the Black Friday crowds, we have begun to shop for those Christmas presents. This year we implemented a new savings plan for holiday gift shopping. We took a large glass bottle with a wide opening at the top and proceeded to deposit all of our spare change in the vessel. Anytime anyone came home from the store with change or if someone found a quarter under the sofa cushion, it went into that jar. We also folded up cash into little triangle packets that were also dropped in there. We did this for about two months.

This week, we cashed it all in and were pleasantly surprised with what we had to work with. I think it was also a good for Daniel to have to plan and save and be patient.

So, even though we're just arriving at Dec. 1, I have a pretty good feeling about this holiday season. I feel that I am ahead of where I usually am at this stage and look forward to finishing up the shopping.

Then comes my favorite part - wrapping everything up. I usually lock myself in the bedroom and give strict orders to everyone else not to peek. I tried a few years ago to get Larry to help me wrap presents, but that was mistake. His idea of Christmas wrapping was putting a red bow on the Kmart bag. Sometimes it's just easier to do it yourself.

The next thing on my agenda is holiday baking. I imagine I'll make a few favorite treats, but most of my holiday cookies will be picked up at the Asbury Cookie Walk tomorrow. What a yummy way to spend a Saturday morning.



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