a real Christmas story

I admit I’m the grinch of all seasons. Peeps are gross, Halloween is freakish, and, sorry, but Christmas music is just awful. I don’t remember the last time I’ve seen chestnuts, or silver bells, or, for that matter, SNOW 😦 😦 . I like music that’s real, and Christmas music isn’t!!!

Because Christmas just isn’t all those glittery moments. For one thing, that putting up the Christmas tree is the seasonal equivalent of getting ready for church on Sundays…it should be calm and wonderful, but there’s just always a fight. or two. or five.

I had visions of us snuggling under the tree while we reminisce with Sam and Ty about each ornament. The boys would play happily with the nativity scene, Sam tenderly explaining to Ty the Christmas story. Todd and I would share a laugh and a wink as we hold hands and put up our anniversary ornament.

And this year, to be honest, it started great. We spent the weekend with my family in the mountains; the highlight of the trip was to choose and cut our own tree. We had a blast at the Christmas tree farm. Which was also, still, a pumpkin patch.

It was like a two-for-one.

When time came to pick a tree, we threw caution to the wind. My dad generously provides us all with Christmas trees, so we thought, what the heck. Let’s get a mammoth tree. Our ceiling is huge. Our kids are little…Let’s go crazy. Cause we’re like that – crazy.

Everything went fine until Sam and Todd were in the garage a suspiciously long time “putting the tree in the stand.”

When I walked out to the garage, there was sawdust everywhere, and a chainsaw running, and the end of the tree was whittled down like a pencil point. only still huge.

Shocker: our huge tree had an even huger stump. I had never, until that moment, spent more than eight seconds thinking about the importance of a good Christmas tree stand. And how your tree should fit in it. Whoops.

To make a long, three-day story short(er), here are a few of the things that happened:

  • We decide, in the interest of our new financial policy, we are not buying a new tree stand.
  • Todd goes to Lowe’s to buy a piece of PVC pipe in an attempt to improve the old tree stand.
  • We (Todd) put the tree back in the stand.
  • It’s crooked.
  • It falls over if you touch it.
  • We (Todd) take out the tree and saw more plastic off the pipe.
  • Todd puts the tree back in.
  • Less crooked, but still sways back and forth when you wiggle its branches. Todd and I debate for a little before eventually deciding that, yes, an extremely unstable mammoth tree is in fact a hazard for two small boys.

leaning tower of Christmas

  • Todd saws the tree down so it’s smaller and replaces it in the stand, again.
  • Luck! It stays up. Until my Aunt Jamee comes over, and we briefly remark how beautiful it is. It falls over before our eyes.
  • Todd puts it back up.
  • Todd goes to Lowe’s and buys hooks to screw into our windows, to stabilize the tree with strings.
  • It’s a good thing I don’t use words like “ghetto,” because if I did, that might have been what I used to describe this proposed set-up in a brief discussion with Todd.
  • Todd secures the tree with thick, black, camping rope.
  • Todd and I have a brief discussion about how the tree looks…well, you know… the word I don’t use.
  • Todd puts the lights on.
  • Sam and Ty dump out all of the Christmas ornaments.
  • Ty throws, and breaks, a vintage airplane ornament.
  • Sam yells at Ty.
  • Sam tells me that the reason God put a giant star in the sky is to tell everyone to decorate their trees. Good thing at least he understands the reason for the season.
  • Todd finishes putting up the lights. I come a little closer, and we have a brief discussion about whether or not those are icicle lights on the bottom half of the tree, and whether or not icicle lights belong on a tree. (In case you’re curious, they don’t. Ever.)
  • I take off the lights and put them back on, sans icicle lights. Sam and Ty step on cardboard boxes, play tug of war with strings of lights, fight over a mini-Christmas tree, try to plug in mini-Christmas tree, bang on the door where Todd is going to the bathroom, pull out all 25 verses in the Advent calendar, and “help” me take off more lights on the tree.
  • I realize that the pandora Christmas music station I’m listening to is, for some reason, making my blood pressure go higher, as this night is not silent, and there is no fa-la-la-ing happening at the current time.
  • Todd comes back and sits down, wearing his, “I give up” face.

  • We decide it’s time to put the boys in their special Christmas pajamas.
  • We realize that Ty can unzip and take off his special Christmas pajamas. Cool trick.

  • We manage to get the boys in bed. I ask Todd what we should do next about our crooked, redneck, wobbly Christmas tree and the mess all over the place. “Cry,” he says.
  • After a few brief moments of individual decompression (I check facebook, he watches football), we regroup. Eight fittings, three saw-ings, two hooks, and one PVC pipe later, Todd goes to Lowe’s to get a new Christmas tree stand. (We are really at good decision-making.)

Which is why, again, I don’t like Christmas songs.

Because life is messy. And Christmas is messy. And humans are messy. And as wonderful as little kids, and Christmas, and marriage, and life in your cozy home is, there are just moments where you think, what is that strand of Christmas lights doing under the refrigerator? And you have no idea.

That’s why, although I hate Christmas music, I love this song. It’s real.

I love that He knew our messes, and came to our messes, and (dare I hope it?!) still loves grumpy moms who yell at their kids and husbands while “Silent Night” rings in the background. Thank you, Jesus, for gifts I don’t deserve.

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13 thoughts on “a real Christmas story

  1. Thanks Brandi! The only thing that kept me from crying (real crying 🙂 ) was the idea that it would make a really funny story one day! 🙂

  2. Oh the memories your story brings back… Growing up, Dad always went and chopped down a piece of pine tree from somewhere to use for Christmas. He had a real knack for picking a branch that was straight but inevitability when stood on end had a decidedly flat side or uneven distribution of ‘leaves’. Figuring how to angle the tree just so and tie it in place with string were all just a part of decorating it. Thankful that God loves us despite our messes!

    • Thanks for sharing your cute story, Lizzy! It sounds like you had a really special dad. And childhood, probably! 🙂 I love it!

  3. I loved loved loved this post. It’s so real. I have a series I’m doing on being a real mom of small children and real life moments. I’m doing one today on our cookie baking experience…less than normal rockwell-ish. I can so relate!!!!

    Anyway, thank you for an early morning laugh (my son woke up at 0530…yay me!) and especially the ending and the last paragraph. I’m definitely going to listen to that song sometime today.

  4. Oh my goodness, I have tears running from laughing so hard!!! Your “leaning tower of Christmas” is the BEST Christmas story!!! I LOVED this post beyond words!!! You are so right!! We have this idea of how perfect and shiny and beautiful everything should be, but in reality, we broke several ornaments this year (even more last year) and the bottom half of my tree is bare because of two year old hands! But in the end, it’s all good, and you have really great stories to share 😉 Stopping by from Fellowship Friday, and I’m so glad I found your blog! Have a great day!!

    • Aw, thanks for commenting, Amanda! I recently heard that idea to leave the bottom half of the tree bare, and I thought, why haven’t I thought of THAT before?? Genius! So glad you stopped by! 🙂

  5. Pingback: A Christmas Surprise (or, what Todd hunted in the house) | Smartter Each Day

  6. Pingback: A Christmas Surprise (or, what Todd hunted in the house)

  7. Pingback: 10 Ideas for Celebrating Christ at Christmas with Young Children - Keeper of the Home

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