“ Is your house on fire, Clark? No, Aunt Bethany, those are the Christmas lights.”

My poor cow was tipped twice last night, but it was the wind, not marauders wandering the neighborhood doing harm to domestic animals on lawns. This morning I added more spikes, well, not spikes but metal pegs. I hope poor Fiona stays upright.

Dinner was wonderful yesterday. I went with the traditional turkey and all the fixings: mashed potatoes, green beans, gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing and sweet potatoes. I even have leftovers for today. The sun set while we were still at the table. It was an amazing and beautiful string of colors, of orange and red. The sun was brilliant and hung in the middle of the sky. We watched it set.

When I woke up, the sky was cloudy but then the sun appeared. It has since disappeared so I’m thinking clouds are the order of the day despite the patches of blue. It was chilly when I went out to right the cow.

My clothes are in the cellar waiting to get washed. I also need to change my bed. Those are the only chores on my to-do list.

This is the time to start decorating my house for Christmas. I want to get to the back of the boxes in the cellar as there are decorations I haven’t used in a while. I know I’ve forgotten many of them, but I do remember characters from a Christmas Carol standing a couple of feet high. I expect I’ll also find a few surprises.

When I was a kid, we helped decorate the house. My father did the outside lights. They were put on the bushes by the front steps. The windows had candles with orange bulbs. That color seemed to be popular back then. The candle holders were plastic and many had to be taped down or they’d keep falling and break the bulbs. The picture window had a candlelabra of five bulbs. I remember we’d race around to be the first to light them. We had to turn the bulbs on and off with our fingers as there were no switches. Nobody raced to turn them off. They were hot. We’d stencil on the picture window. The stencils came in sheets, and we used a white spray to outline the figures. Santa’s face was my favorite. Even in white spray he looked jolly.

The tree was always last. We’d beg my parents to buy one before the trees were all gone. Even my mother’s assurances that there would be trees didn’t work. We’d keep bugging them until finally the tree was bought, brought inside and placed in the tree stand. The lights were first. I will never forget my memories of my father and those lights. He’d stand there with strands of lights entangled into one giant mess of wires and bulbs. He cursed a lot. Those were the days when light sets didn’t work if one bulb was bad. He’d curse some more while screwing and unscrewing bulbs looking for the culprit. We’d all stand around and watch and listen. I always thought cursing was part of the ritual.

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13 Comments on ““ Is your house on fire, Clark? No, Aunt Bethany, those are the Christmas lights.””

  1. olof1 Says:

    Heavy snowfall this morning but we didn’t get that much thankfully, enough to cover the trees and ground though. Naturally cars crashed because it seems no one ever have driven on ice and snow covered roads in this country before 🙂 🙂 🙂

    My mother was one of the first to buy that kind of strand where only the broken bulb was dark, I’m pretty sure she would have gone insane otherwise 🙂 🙂 The tree was always bought on Saint Lucia’s day and dressed the same evening. Most of the ones we knew didn’t bring in the tree and dress it until christmas eve. Our tree was out of our homes by nréw years even and they usually didn’t have mny needles left 🙂

    Have a great day!

    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Christer,
      We always shake our heads when it snows down south. They have little experience navigating the snowy, icy roads. There are always multiple accidents. They close even the government when there are only 6 or 7 inches. We just chuckle.

      When my mother was young, it was traditional to decorate the tree on Christmas Eve when the kids were sleeping. Seeing it in the morning was almost magical.

      We had our tree all decorated two or three weeks before Christmas. I do the same. If the tree is losing needles too rapidly, I will take it down before it becomes a fire hazard. My small fake tree in the dining room won’t be taken down until Little Christmas.

      Have a great day!

  2. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    My laundry is at the bottom of the cellar stairs awaiting my attentions. The remains of the bird from yesterday are in the crockpot making stock.

    The Santa hat wearing, maracas playing, La Bamba singing stuffed chihuahua dog is on the end table in front of the window. Other than the Santa hat, I have no idea how the manufacturer thought this was Christmas-y but it amuses me.

    Swearing was a part of the Christmas tree tradition in my family, too. The live tree had to be trimmed. Then it had to have holes drilled in strategic places on the trunk so that the extra branches could be glued in place to fill out the empty spots. The drilling was always done with an old fashioned hand cranked drill with an augur bit. After that came the untangling and trouble-shooting of the lights followed by a debate on the proper placing of same on the tree. It all ended up with another discussion on tinsel hanging techniques. One strand or 3? Carefully hung on the ends of the branches or tossed willy-nilly in the general direction of the tree? There were factions in the family. 😀

    It’s cloudy and cold up here. The wind is getting stronger. Watch out for your cow.

    Enjoy the day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      My laundry too is down the cellar. I just opened the door and threw the laundry down the stairs. I only did one of my chores today, changing my bed. It was complicated as Jack kept jumping on the bed. Finally I just covered him, and he didn’t care. I must have a phobia about the laundry.

      I also have the La Bamba chihuahua. I love him. My sister collects moving things. One Santa is tall and scary looking. A couple of her grandchildren were afraid of it when they were little. I try to find the weirdest or funniest moving decoration.

      My father put the skimpy side to the wall. He never did the drilling of the tree to place branches. I read where the best way to put on the lights was not to wind them round the tree but to hang them from the top down. I might give hat a try this year. They do that with the larger trees like the national tree or the ones in the Common.

      My mother was crazed when it came to icicles on the tree. We’d get bored and toss them. She demanded they be placed on the branches one at a time so they really did look like icicles. We stop using them when we found one of the cats eating them.

      I used 4 more spikes on the cow. I hope that holds her upright. I have to replace the spot light still.

      Have a great evening.

  3. Sheila Says:

    Hi Kat,
    We picked our tree up today, a Fraser almost 8 feet tall. I thought we paid a lot, but the news just now said they’re going for $74 to $100. We paid $72.98, a bargain! Jim wanted to get it today so there would be time for branch falling before snow falling on Sunday.
    The backyard fence is lit and the pear tree trimmed. Tomorrow, it’s inflatables and Santa and his reindeer flying! Will send you a pic when they’re up:)
    I vote for Clara the Christmas Cow. Fiona just doesn’t have that Christmasy ring to it. You can consider it named after our Grand Auntie Clara (haha).

    • katry Says:

      Sheila,
      I read in the paper that the year these trees were planted far fewer than usual were planted which is why they are more expensive. I’ve paid $70 for a tree before, and there was no excuse like fewer trees. If I find the perfect tree, I don’t care how much.

      I love your Santa Clause. Please do send pictures.

      I remember a movie where Clara was the name of a Christmas angel. I think it was a take off on It’s a Wonderful Life. Clara she’ll be. Good old Auntie Clara!!

  4. Hedley Says:

    My house is still full of guests, trashing and …well, I would like them all to leave.

    I have gently started my Christmas decorating with nativities from the Holy Land and Santons from France. It takes about 3 hours to set up the tree and light it. That is maybe Sunday when thankfully the Lions are not playing

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      Barricade yourself behind lock doors with your music and some snacks. They’ll get the hint.

      I have brought my scrub pine fake tree up from the cellar. It is in my dining room. The real tree will go up in the living room. I will start 1after the week end.

    • katry Says:

      MDH.
      I have several nativity sets from different countries. They stay on my mantle all the time. I think I’d hate to put some in boxes out of worry something would break as some are delicate. I have started decorating. It will be a long time event as I do a little at a time.

  5. lilydark Says:

    My laundry is scattered near the door in black plastic bags, sorted, to be washed…odd system. I never liked Christmas as a child as we we were Jewish. I did like seeing the lights of my neighbors though. My mom put up Hannukah stockings but on Christmas day I was always alone. Take Care,
    Lori and the gang

    • katry Says:

      Lori,
      My laundry is sitting in the cellar. As soon as I start to run out of underwear I’ll do the wash. Christmas is so special I’m amazed you didn’t like it. I haven’t ever seen a Hanukkah stocking. I’m sorry you were alone on Christmas.

      Have a great evening!

  6. Bob Cohen Says:

    Hi Kat,

    My spouse and daughter went out to do some shopping and she said the stores where she shopped were not that crowded. Online shopping may be exceeding the craziness of Black Friday.

    The leftover smoked turkey was excellent including the leg which I ate tonight.

    It rained on and off and the low temperature of 50 degrees was at midnight and it warmed to the low 70s.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      I do much of my shopping on line. I look for fun, quirky gifts in stores. Most of my shopping is done so I’m quite happy not wandering around the mall. I have to wrap.

      I had my leftovers from dinner last night. It was a whole turkey dinner again.

      I’m going out later and will have to layer.


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