If your house looks like a Hallmark card, perfectly decorated and with the family in coordinated outfits wearing Colgate smiles, I don't think we can be friends.
Maybe because I was once that person. Forget Christmas, I decorated the house for EVERY holiday. I even had a generic-looking gold metallic tree that came with different sets of ornaments, one for every major holiday. Oh, and a two foot tall Mama Goose, who had a wardrobe of jackets and hats, one for every month of the year. All I can think now is that I must have been very sleep-deprived as a mother of young children, to think that these were the last word in holiday decorating.
In recent years, the boxes of holiday decorations have almost become the decorations, as they sit around in our front room for weeks, waiting to be opened. If we are expecting guests for the holiday, it becomes a mad dash of put-up-the-bare-minimum-that-you-can, before having to frantically-stash-boxes-out-of-sight ten minutes before our company arrives.
I'll admit that it makes me sad. To not see my girls' eyes light up when they came home from school to a fully decorated house. To not anticipate the first day of December because that was the day we put our everyday dishes away, and only used our gingerbread patterned dishes with red snowflake mugs for the rest of the month. Too many more little intangibles to recount here.
But I didn't realize that joy can suddenly erupt when you are not expecting it. At 11:50 a.m. today, I realized that my youngest was only ten minutes away from getting out of school for winter break, and I remembered how that felt as a child. All of a sudden, I was excited - it was the start of Christmas break! The end of the work week for my husband, and our last Farmer's Market of the year tomorrow. After Sunday, I don't have to fulfill any orders, nor rush through readying the house for company. I can stay in pajamas for three days straight, and have a Christmas movie marathon. And I like it. It may not look like Christmases past, but I'll have what I didn't even two years ago - time with my family. I'll put a bow on that.