Last Saturday morning I was busy rearranging bins and boxes in our basement (supposedly cleaning out, but mostly moving around) when I realized that we didn’t have a Christmas tree yet. Christmas was just two weeks away and the Christmas decorations were still snug in their boxes. How had Christmas slipped up on me like that? And more to the point, why hadn’t one of my three kids said anything?
For the very first time, no one wondered where the advent calendar was, never mind the brawl that normally followed in the debate over who got to hang the first ornament. The tiny, ugly fake tree that was the “pet’s tree” was still where I’d tossed it last January on top of the furnace. The wooden crèche scene I had managed to bring upstairs earlier that week sat on the side board in the kitchen, all the wooden shepherds and kings and lambs still in a pile in the back of the stable. No one had bothered to assemble the scene (or rearranged it because their sibling had gotten to it first). The nesting dolls and nutcrackers and Countdown to Christmas chalkboard had yet to be unpacked from the box I’d lugged upstairs a week ago.
For a very long moment, I wondered if decorating this year was even necessary. I mean, after all, I’d just be taking it all down again in two weeks. Sighing, I shoved the boxes back from whence they came, grabbed one of the big bins of ornaments and hot-footed it upstairs yelling, “Hey, it’s time to go get a tree!”