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  • Writer's pictureJudy

Nov. 26, 2023: Simplifying

As usual, this past Friday, I spent the entire day decorating for Christmas. It is my traditional, day-after-Thanksgiving routine and while it is exhausting, I love every minute of it. It is my thing. My passion. Jeff helps me get the boxes and bins down from the attic, and then he stays out of my way, often heading to the golf course. That is how I like it. The decorations stay up until just before New Year’s Eve, and then I do the entire thing in reverse.

This year however, there was an additional consideration. At the beginning of December I will be having knee-replacement surgery. At this point, the pain is manageable, but stairs and ladders are torture. As much as I tried to hang onto my state of denial, and insist that this would not impact this years’ holiday decorating, reality reared its ugly head.

Leading up to this weekend, Jeff and I had many discussions about how to handle this year’s decorations. His suggestion was to just forget about decorating this year. While I must admit to entertaining the idea for a (very) brief minute, the thought of spending the entire month of December (much of it at home due to surgery recovery) without trees, and stockings, and ornaments and all manner of other decorations, sent me into a dark and sad place.

I mentioned just putting out a few things. I do have an extensive collection, dozens of boxes of decorations, so maybe just unpacking a few this year? But which ones? Which decorations would make the cut and be put out, and which would stay boxed up until, next year?

I held fast to the notion that I would only need help packing them away when the holidays were over since I would only be a few weeks post-op, so Jeff said he would take down and pack away all the decorations. But my control-tendencies kicked up and I knew that I would not be able to turn over total control. Would he package them all correctly? Does he know the history of so many of the items in my collection and which ones much be protected at all cost? Would he know how they are sorted and boxed? (by theme and room of course).

After much discussion and thought, it was decided that because the taking down and packing up of the decorations will have to be done with assistance, I would only put up one tree this year. That was my compromise and surrender to the realities of my surgery.

Typically, I have two enormous artificial Christmas trees. One goes up in the family room and one on the lanai. My collection of ornaments is so extensive, that even with two trees, I am running out of room for all of them. Last year I joked (in a way that was half-serious) that it was time to consider adding a third tree. Clearly, this will not be the year for that.

Well, as the saying goes, “best laid plans often go awry”. I could not decorate as usual. Anything that required a ladder to put up or take down, was passed over. Anything outside, left in the boxes. As far as the one tree I put up, my plan was to go through every one of my ornaments and pull out the most sentimental ones to go up on my single tree. That did not happen. I opened one of the ornament boxes and put up all the ones in that box; then opened the second, and hung ornaments until my knees threatened to buckle and send me to the floor. The other ornament boxes were never opened.

While my decorations are sparer than usual, I will embrace the simplicity and find joy in the things that I did put out.

Wishing everyone a happy start to the holiday season and may you be surrounded by all that brings you joy.

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