Christmas Hounds

Christmas. A lovely time of year. Until you grow up and move out and have kids. Let me explain. My parents always had hordes of boxes of Chrismas stuff. I mean every ornament from every school year or VBS semester for all three of us kids, 300 feet of lights, 50 regular ornaments that came from who knows where (you know those ones you see every year?), and that effin gaudy multi-colored doubles-as-a-disco-ball star. Who designs this stuff?? Ah, I digress.
So every year since I was born (I assume) we hauled out all this stuff and put it on the poor pine tree that happened to befall the Guenther house. Bring Sally up. Took a good two hours or so. And then there's mom's other Christmas stuff, which consisted of another 5 or 6 boxes. You know, the thirty candles even though we're not Jewish, fifteen sno-globes, three nativity scenes, those painted houses in communities, and a boat-load of other Christmas knick-knacks. Our living room always looked like Saint Nick himself, and all his holiday glory, blew up coming down from our chimney. Poor dad, hauling that stuff in and out year after year. Although looking back it was cool seeing all of it set up and all that happy crap, but in the midst of those 16 years I made a decision.
I was never. Ever. EVER gonna have that much STUFF for ANY holiday.
AND, I refuse to set my tree up until at least the first week of December.
First, I am a sort of neat freak. I like stuff tidy and clean, albeit my definition of tidy and clean varies drastically from most people's. It's kinda hard to explain, but one pet peeve is forty boxes of Christmas stuff that follows you from house to house throughout your adult life and gets left to your kids when you die.
Second, to me it just feels weird to put up your tree before Thanksgiving. One holiday at a time please! I don't understand it but some people like that kind of thing and hey if that's your cup of tea, I'll be your lemon. (Aunt Terri you're still cool though!)
SO, I have one small plastic box of Christmas stuff.
Just the basics.
This year, on top of only having that one box of stuff, I commited the cardinal sin of Christmas: not putting the tree up the minute the clock struck December 1st. And believe me, mom hasn't let me live it down. Apparently once you have kids the rule is you have to put up your tree on December 1st and retain said tree until at least New Years. If you don't they sic the hounds on you.
"You haven't put your tree up? OH MY GOSH, why?? You just have to put your tree up, the kids will love it. What? A MINI tree?? Is that legal? What do you mean you have no room in your apartment? If you move the corner table and t.v. and loveseat there's plenty of room! I simply cannot believe you haven't set up that tree....."
It gets worse. If your mom can't convince you, she gets her mom to help. If that doesn't work, they pull out the big arsenal: getting the kids involved. And that's just not fair when they get the kids going before noon on 12-1. It's not.
SO. I put up the tree last night. Yes, it is a mini tree and yes I have had to replace every ornament at least three times in the last 24 hours. And they plug it in by themselves if I'm not in the room. Mom says they would only pull the bottom ornaments off of a big tree, but I don't think so. Not my kids. They're sinister. Plotting to knock a big shiny reflective tree down and thoroughly examine every piece of evidence is NOT out of their league.
So there. I have my tree up. And you bet your boots it's coming down on the 26th.

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