Well it is that time of the year again. The Holidays!! It’s not my favorite time of the year mostly because it is hard on the children and not so great for the staff either. The children have serious emotions that they have to deal with, like spending Holidays with people not their family. Possibly memories of previous not so great Holidays with their families, or a host of other things. We as staff have to deal with the added difficult behaviors of the children as a result of the Holidays, and for some of us there is the “Dog & Pony Show” associated with reaching out to donors through a number of PR events. It is a whole lot of work.
I was planning on just going through the motions this year, put up the same decorations as last year, do the minimum and just get by. That plan probably would have worked had we not moved into a different cottage this summer. We had 6 years worth of decorations that we had acquired piece by piece (mostly from the thrift store) that all had a place. Problem was they just didn’t work right in our new cottage so I wanted to put up the mandatory Christmas tree with white lights and bag the rest but my wife didn’t like that plan. She thought we needed a bit more, so we have spent the last three days being creative.
I had to do the normal stuff like, completely replace all the lights on the pre-lite Christmas tree we bought two years ago, because when I plugged it in this year only about a third of the lights worked. After an hour of messing with it, I was able to get half of the lights working. Quick trip to Wal-mart for new LED lights, and 5 hours later everything worked great.
I then worked on converting our second tree that used to go into our family room into a corner 1/4 tree to fit in our dining room. We have always had two trees, the official approved cottage tree for open house and a tree that the kids decorate. The kids tree is primarily decorated with ornaments that they had made at school through out the years and other decorations that have been with the cottage for years. Once a child places an ornament, that is where it stays. We leave the creativity solely to the children and have had to live with lopsided trees in some years. The one year we were the baby cottage most of the decorations where on the lower third of the tree, as they have gotten older things have been spread a little more evenly.
I also created a miniature Jimmie Johnson NASCAR tree,
complete with flashing battery powered LED lights. A Christmas Ficus Tree, battery powered LED stars for the Nativity set, complete with a star salvaged off the old tree topper angel. Glued push pins on the back of the peace sign letters so I could mount them in an arch and not leave big nail holes in the wall. All in all, things look pretty nice and it didn’t kill me, though I thought it might about 4 hours into winding lights on the tree.
Our two kids that got a Thanksgiving visits came back today and I made it through bed time and the crying six year old that misses her birth mom. She sees her mom twice a year, and it is very tough on her and us when she comes back. We will deal with it for the next month and then really deal with it after her Christmas visit. She should only make us pay for a month or two after that. I had the additional blessing of having all the other kids stuck in the house most of the week because of rain. On the bright side I was able to make it through my first low-carb holiday meal and even lost 2/10ths of a pound this weekend.
Tomorrow is our first Christmas party, Thursday is Open House, Friday is our staff Christmas party and then a whole bunch of other stuff. Only 25 more days until relief and then I can hide out in my house for the remainder of the Holidays, come back news years eve. Can’t wait.