Neverending Saga: The Christmas Itinerary

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Well-Known Member
Nov 30, 2002
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I might be considered obsessive when it comes to the holidays, but it’s critical to my sanity things go smoothly. After all, I spend 364 days a year dreaming of Christmas and playing Christmas Carols year round and nobody is going to mess with that holiday. If everyone does their part, things go effortlessly and everyone enjoys. But if they don’t, things will runamuk bigger than you can say Santa Claus. The rest of the year I don’t usually care a thing about schedules, timing, organization, or perfection, and I can handle things on my own, but during holiday season we need to become united so things can be accomplished in record time.

Enter, the Family Holiday Survival Guide. I printed out a fun calendar, a 3 page itinerary for the family including task activities and the Thanksgiving Day menu, all heavily decorated with fun clipart. I laminated it and hand delivered it to the Love Child for him his GF and friends, the step son and the Hus to put in the truck.

This illustrious itinerary gives the times and dates of family activities, the first of which is getting the Christmas decorations down from the barn loft- my biggest concern. This particular project always involves an assembly line and two or three truck loads of decorations to be transported from the loft to the front lawn. If everyone pitches in, it takes less than an hour to accomplish this transfer. If no one helped, it will take me a full two days and a double hernia to move the stuff by myself.

Everyone has their “specialty.” We all already know who is putting Christmas lights up, who will get on the roof to dangle upside down like a bat and hang giant wreaths, who will stake down figures, and so on. My particular specialty is all of it, as long as a ladder is not implicated. A decorating party is also involved of course. This team effort is always fun (for me) but at times I have heard some grumbling from the rest of the cast members who have made remarks under their breath like “We have to humor her if we want to get fed” followed by my remark “I heard that!” I prepare tons of fun food and we blast music on the front lawn. I bring out all my Christmas CD’s and the minute my back is turned; they get changed out for rap music. Dan and I waste more time sneaking back and forth changing out the music continually. This is mutiny. I have been known to get totally silly while we work together to construct our outdoor Christmas display with Dan begging me ten times per hour, “Mom, will you please take that musical Reindeer hat with the blinking antlers off now; Dad will you do something about it?” The passers by in the community always beep or wave or stop in the driveway to check it all out and visit with us. They don’t complain about my hat!

Some may call my itinerary fanatical but I call it good planning. Without things being organized, I have found myself in the past walking the lawn fixing light outages on Christmas Eve while freezing to death in my sleeper pants, bathrobe and my OJ knit hat. I have had to hang up wreaths on the windows that were forgotten, shove jingle bells on a downed reindeer lying on his side that someone forgot to stake down and retrieve snowmen that became airborne and were blown down the hill in the wind. I know the neighbors have seen me out there: No, its not a bird or a plane, nor is it Mrs.Claus loping down the hill; its just me, your strange neighbor saving Christmas. Eeeks……One year, I actually went creeping into the dark forest across the road late at night in the snow, wearing my bed clothes and red moppy slippers sinking in the mud and mush, flashlight in hand, searching for our plastic figurine of Baby Jesus in the middle of a winter storm. All this when I should be in bed waiting for Santa! But no. I’m the one that gets worn into a frazzle hunting down Christmas presents to wrap that I forgot where I hid. I’m an expert on Christmas chaos. I invented it. And frankly, I’m getting too old for this. I know from past experiences if I don’t designate who, what, when, where, or why, trust me there will be total bedlam; things will get broken or lost, and there is always a ladder fight. People will forget to show up or come on the wrong day expecting food and festivities when I don’t have anything ready and nothing will get done. Now before anyone goes all Kate Gosselin on me (heaven forbid- she needs a good smack) this itinerary works both ways. I admit that without the itinerary and surrounding myself with a thousand post it notes, my brains would be more scattered than a family of squirrels scurrying around collecting nuts for the winter. If the truth be told, half the time I can’t find my butt with both hands even as big as it is, so I need the itinerary just as much as the men-folk. This year, I want to mail my Christmas cards out before December 24th!


So it came to pass that last week I committed a Christmas crime as I went against my own itinerary.

I started thinking that since we are having unseasonably 65 degree sunny weather, why not get the Christmas stuff up on the lawn now before the bottom falls out? One year, we had a blizzard the week before Halloween so I don’t trust the weather. I know its very early for decorating as we start this on Thanksgiving weekend but we already set the stage. We mulched the leaves on the lawn, and I already have the lights up on the fence out front, so let’s throw caution to the winds and go for it! I called all the troops and notified everyone to be here on Saturday at 8:00AM. SHARP! There were no protests. In fact, everyone liked the idea since no one appreciates putting up our Christmas extravaganza while freezing, fighting wind gusts, and trying to stake down snowmen on frozen ground. It was a go.

I stayed up till 2:00 AM the night before cooking and baking and getting tons of refreshments ready. I flopped into bed and arose like a zombie at 6:30 to do my barn chores early and get the horses situated for the day. I stood on the porch with my eyes glued to the road waiting for everyone. 8:00 AM rolled around and nobody came. 9:00 AM nobody came. By 10:00 Hus gives me a poke on the shoulder and grunts and points. That means for me to follow him. I skipped behind him like a good little puppy minus the tail between my legs. “Stop skipping, you’ll trip and fall down as usual.” Ok, so he’s got eyes behind his head among some of his other amenities; I’ll just walk.

We opened up the barnyard gates and pulled in our two trucks and my Rover in and I followed him up the steps to the loft. “We are going to do all this by ourselves?” I got another grunt followed by that “look”. Before I know it, he and I were running our own assembly line so fast my head was spinning. He’d throw a Wise Man through the air to me, I’d catch it, and I’d lower it down over the two story railing of the loft landing into the bed of the truck by the light cord. “Hope you built this railing sturdy, my whole weight is leaning on this thing!” He snickered. I know that snicker……. He was pitching snowmen and wreaths and stars at me so fast I had to be quick, which is not my strong suit. Thanks to Mr. Swiftness, there was multiple bodily injuries: a cow’s ear went flying off of his head, along with somebody’s antlers, a couple of toy soldiers now have cataracts, a snowman is missing his carrot nose and what on earth have I stepped in???? After the first truck was loaded with a pile of Christmas participants in need of glue-gun first aid, I pulled the truck out and positioned the next truck and we proceeded to load it up just as fast. I moved it out of the way and we then filled up my Rover. We unloaded the trucks on the front lawn and went back up for another refill. I’m getting pumped. We’re on it.



By this time it was about noon and still no sign of anyone showing up so we proceeded to build the Nativity lean-tu and get the proper figures into place and staked them down. Next we put our snowmen and toy soldiers in place, and started building the reindeer fence, when low and behold, here came the motorcade of reinforcements up the hill. Everyone over slept. Better late than never; there is still so much left to do! GAME ON! The Christmas music of Transiberian Orchestra and Manheim Steamroller went blasting from the boom boom box in the truck on the lawn, but when I put on Burl Ives Best Christmas Hits, that’s when I crossed the line. I brought out two trays of food for the troops and the decorating continued throughout the day with hammers banging and drills drilling.

The Love Child went up on the ladder stringing lights on the telephone and power poles, hanging icicle lights on the roof with his buddies while I put his GF to work on the porch testing endless strings of lights for outages. She kept looking all around in disbelief with so many things going on around her, I had to giggle.


I pointed out the Rubbermaid containers of lights and as she opened one up she remarked “OMG there must be 30 strands of lights in here!” “Sixty five in that one actually” I told her, “and there’s four more Rubbermaids full of lights behind you, plus plenty more in the house.” The Love Child came over to console her and said “Tried to tell you! That’s the way mom came when I got her.” We were all having a blast.

As usual, people in the neighborhood driving by would beep and give us a wave of encouragement because they all love to come and see our light show every Christmas. Then a funny thing happened when a nice young man in a gorgeous red mustang just dying for a wreath on the grill stopped by to help. He grabbed a hammer and pitched right in and none of us knew who he was! He knew each of us by name and acted like we knew him all his life but we didn’t have a clue who he was and we didn’t let on and we went with it. We still can’t figure it out who the hammering stranger was, but he could down a can of Mountain Dew in less than 10 seconds flat.


We were finished before dark and everyone had a great time and demolished all the food and drinks. I’ve got some garnishes left to do putting poinsettias around and hanging up wreaths, decorating the mail box, easy things like that but the main stuff is UP! I’m sure I’ll be adding more lights here and there too.


On Thanksgiving weekend we will haul out the gobs and gobs of extension cords and add our synchronized music. So let it be said that although my 2009 itinerary had good intentions it went out the window and many things were accomplished despite it. We’ll be all set to light up the sky for our friends and neighbors on December 1st.. My Archangel in heaven, will be looking down upon us with love and smiling that big smile of his when he sees it. I can just hear him now telling all his heavenly friends “That’s my home, the bright one, and the lady running around on the lawn dressed like Mrs.Claus is my mom.”

This is from last year:
,I did get my 7 stockings hung with care on the mantle in the barn. I also put up a small tree,some garland and bells
.My dad,he's my neighbor, and his friend had to come see what I was up to when they saw me carrying stuff to my barn.I love Christmas!
Yah! Christmas is the best time of the year! I can't wait to see your christmas decorateing all finished. I put up a little of my lights on the barn, and put out my christmas lantern. I might do the garland tonight since its been warm this week. I have the horses stockings bought, just need to get their names put on. I hate this unemployed junk! There are soo many things I want to buy, but can't afford. My next purchase will be either a set of deer or the horse and carriage. -fingures crossed I can find them for under 100-
I am going to need lights out back anyway with the foals due who knows when. I think I will put up some lights in the new stalls we built. I have never decorated the barn before. EVER!

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