Two out of the Three Men of the house (the third has succumbed to the stomach flu the rest of us had last week) went out foraging for a Christmas tree this morning. It was the 12 year old’s first time really getting his hands in there when it came time to prep the tree.
First, he helped tie it to the roof and untie it when they got home. Next, joy of joys, Alan actually let him use the chainsaw to cut the end of the trunk off.
And then we decorated. Well, we tried to decorate. All that lumberjacking and chainsawing apparently went to his head, because he insisted that we were putting the lights on the tree the wrong way. Which would have been okay, but he went on to insist that not only was it wrong, but that we had NEVER DONE IT THIS WAY BEFORE. Okay, but I can think of at least, well, 22 prior Christmases since this family was founded. Not to mention the ones I had at my parents’ house before that. Ever since I was 16 and my Dad realized it was a more efficient method to string the lights vertically instead of wrapping them around the tree, the lights went on up and down, not round and round. My Dad was an engineer. There was no reason to ever do it the other way.
Before I could do more than mention, “Pop taught us this way,” the 14 year old jumped in, so I stepped back and let her take over. All the debate training she has had this year in Classical Conversations came into play. It got vehement.
The 12 year old is stubborn, however. Mulish. So we let him win, which meant he got to string the lights on all by himself. We waited for him to get overwhelmed, but he was so happy with his win, he set about stringing the lights quite happily, singing along with the Christmas carols playing on the radio. “‘Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree O, Christmas Tree…’ Hey! I totally know these lyrics!”
The lights are uneven and clump together in spots, but that’s just how we will leave them. Because sometimes you have to choose between being “right” and being happy, and Christmas is definitely one of those times.