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Writer's Block: Spreading the cheer

Do you decorate your home for the holidays? If so, when do you put your decorations up and when do you take them down?
I like to decorate for Yule. I like to have a nice tree (fake of course, I don't support tree-genocide), some garlands, holiday and winter themed things. I love holiday lights and love to toss them up everywhere.

This year I simply don't have time, but I plan to help my dad decorate HIS house instead. Every year since I was very small, we've had both a tree and a large, ornate handmade garland of sorts on the mantle above the fireplace. To make the garland, my dad would trim up some of his trees and bushes in the yard as well as sometimes buy broken or damaged trees that were otherwise unsellable, then salvage them for their branches alone. He'd then carefully lay the branches and trimmings on the mantle, adorning it with large pine cones, real holly, and very beautiful handmade ornaments. He'd also put in large/tall candles, to light the whole thing. His clock (think miniature giant clock with pendulums) would be in the center, in it's place.

The real garland my dad makes is superficially the same every year but it is always different as well. No two have ever been alike, and I love it. It looks so beautiful, smells like evergreen and cinnamon, it is hands down my favorite decoration of the whole year. Someday when I own my patch of land, my home must have a large fireplace...partly because I dearly love it, but also because I want to make this little tradition my dad has started into my own. I want to share this with the kiddo...and someday maybe he'll share it with his. Relaxing in front of a roaring fire, the glittering candle-lit garland above, smelling those wonderful smells, enjoying a warm coffee or chilled eggnog the night before the Christian holiday morn (I may be heathen but my family largely is not, and I'm cool with it so long as nobody steps on toes)...it is one of the reasons Yule is my favorite holiday. A time for family...a time for reflection. Those night-before memories are precious to me. The joy and warmth cannot be described.

This year my dad and I have both been busy. Neither of us has much time. I know I won't get the house here decorated in time and I won't distress trying. My dad admitted he isn't too inclined to decorate either...and I refused to accept that. I don't care if we don't have a tree, but I want that garland on the mantle, even if I have to do it myself.

My dad seemed really proud and honored that it has become so important to me...after all, years ago, it was his idea. He'd bought a tree (back when we had live trees for the holiday) too tall and had to trim off some bottom branches and thought it a waste to just throw them out, so he tossed them onto the mantle with some holly and candles...and right before my eyes created my favorite decoration not only of the Yule/Christmas/insert-your-faith's-wintery-holiday-here, but of the whole year.

Thinking about it puts a smile on my face. :)

Also, to more fully answer the question, the decorations get put up whenever we have time, and get taken down whenever we have time. No set date or anything.

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January 2011
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