Seasonal Thoughts

The front door is the first thing your guests see.....

One of the many things I do for people is decorate their homes for Christmas.  My “elves” and I start the process often before Thanksgiving rolls around, and we finish up around the second week of December.   For my clients, it is sometimes a time to get out of the house with their Christmas boxes in their basement storage, and come home to a house later that evening that is decked out in garland, ribbon and glitter.   The “oohing” that comes after that initial walk through the door by my client is worth the entire day.  Some of my clients stay in the home and help us/talk to us as we work through the day.   I’ll bring in 4 or 5 people (they really are elves) to help, and all that hard work is done in no time at all!

We climb ladders (23 feet tall is the highest so far) to attach garland to exterior door frames, walk across rooftops to hang wreaths on an out of the way window, and place spot lights on the front lawn.  We also put up the tree, with the lights and the ornaments, or just the lights depending on if the family decorates the tree together.   Sometimes the small children of the home help us, and I personally love that!

There is a wide variety of themes in the many homes I work on during Christmas decorating.   One home has an aluminum tree in the living room, complete with a rotating color wheel and  with fanciful bulbs hanging from the windows….I feel as if I’ve stepped into a Dr Seuss fantasy world.

Then there is the “Grinch Tree”.  This started as just a quick afterthought  for a client who wanted a tree for her kids by their playroom.   Since it was added later in the day, I didn’t have much to work with for that “wow” factor besides the collection of ornaments from Disney and past vacations.  I went into the playroom and picked up a stuffed Grinch, and an impish thought came into my mind.   I placed it right on top of the tree!  Added a few stuffed snowmen and other animals from the playroom and we had an awesome tree….and the kids squealed with delight!

Of course I decorate traditional trees, and there is something different about each of them, because of the history of the ornaments, or the theme, or the memories associated with the special pieces.  A family that has many children have trees in several rooms….. A newly married couple combines their Christmas decorations and has a unique tree all their own.  A mom and daughter have a collection of silver bells.  They polished them together and talked about each as we were getting the tree ready.   I loved watching them giggle over some of the dates, and  reveled in their comraderie while preparing the bells for the tree.   It was a polishing of love that day.

Over the years, these clients have become my friends.   I’ve watched their kids grow up and it is like my own personal updating of their year, as we chat and catch up while hanging the garland and making the bows.  Since many of their homes are “done” for now (and I caution them that they are never really done), I see some of them only at Christmas.   They have all become dear friends by now.  Their children play their piano recital for me, or fetch pinecones from the yard, and grow in front of my eyes each year during this wonderous season.

It is also a time to catch up with my friends, who are my elves and helpers.   I couldn’t do this without them.  Each has a “specialty” that ensures their job security for next year….and I really don’t want to know how they do what they do.   My chief elf climbs the tallest ladders and is fearless on the roof.  She also maps out all the electrical for ease next year, and makes sure that we don’t overload a circuit.  We put timers and remotes on everything we can and label them for the right places.   Another has a “magic wand”  that pumps juice into those burnt out lights and somehow tricks them into lighting their fuse again.   The kids think we are truly magical and I don’t even want to know how that magic works.   I want to believe it is magic.   Elf number 3 & 4 are always in charge of the little houses with their many cords, and little trees, and tiny lights, and snow, and those little itty bitty people.   We laugh as they say, “we can’t put the tavern by the church, there is a code against that.”   And then, they match up the “couples” that look best together based on the coat they are wearing (if only it were that easy in real life)!  But when you look at the village, it truly looks like a real little town right there on top of the entertainment center.

We decorate with red and green, burnt orange and brown, neon yellow and purple/pink,   all depending on the color scheme in the home.  It always looks fabulous!  We take an hour long lunch together (no we don’t charge during that time)  and chat about our own decorations, the terrible decorations on the home on the main road, and the kids  getting married and grandbabies that are coming along.  Our favorite phrase is “Yes, I know I have glitter all over me!”   We also have this unique time together to renew our love for each other as good, long standing friends.   The Christmas season reminds us each of the love that friendship stands for.

The most marvelous gift of all was given to all of us this year in Atlanta.   To top off all my fabulous decorating, God blessed us with snow on Christmas Day for the first time in 148 years .   As the pure white snow poured from the sky, people all over were literally yelling “White Christmas” in disbelief!  We made snowmen, drank hot chocolate and sat by the fire because we were actually cold and not just because it is pretty to have a fire going in the fireplace.   We were truly blessed with a special season of a beautiful Christmas.