Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Christmas is a time when you get homesick – even when you’re home.  ~ Carol Nelson

This is my favorite time of year. I love Christmas. The spectacle, the decorations, the music. All of it. The only thing that could make it any better is if it were warm. Oh, and if Dad were still here.

I was sitting with Dylan last night waiting for our dinner to be ready when I started wondering what I could write about this week. I had already had Christmas on my mind when I started telling him some stories about his grandfather. I told him about the time that Dad thought it would be a great homage to his five daughters to immortalize their initials as Christmas decorations. This is one of the favorites of all the sisters.

I can’t remember how old I was when this story took place but I do remember it happening. The tree was already up and the entire second floor looked as if a bomb of tinsel, glitter and lights exploded. Dad, as usual, was in the thick of it. Cursing and laughing and yelling and making the spectacle even grander. I don’t remember how the idea came to him but I do remember having to get wire hangers. Lots and lots of wire hangers.

He sat there in his chair, bending and twisting, cajoling and finessing, forcing the wire to his will. Some initials were easier than others. The L for example was pretty straight forward; the B not so much. I don’t know how long it took him or how many innocent hangers lost their lives that night but the carnage was immense. After creating all five initials (D, P, T, B, L) it was time to decorate them. With garland. Miles and miles of pretty garland.

Where, you may be wondering, was Dad going to put his masterpiece(s)? Not just anywhere. No. They were going to have prominence. They needed a place befitting of their magnificence. Naturally, they were hung over the sofa in the living room. Yes he did. Not only did he hang them, he hung them fancy. In a V pattern. Starting on the left with Deb, then Patty slightly below and to the right, Tracey made the low point in the V pattern, Barbara (that’s me) directly across from Patty with Laura mirroring Deb at the upper right.

It was as horrifying as it sounds. The letters were easily a foot and a half tall and he didn’t even use the same color garland for each letter. Nope. Each letter had its own color. In the intervening years, I decided he chose each color to reflect the uniqueness of each daughter but it’s more likely that Dad’s mantra of “more is more” won out. He was also color-blind so I can only imagine what it looked like to him. I’m sure it was amazing. To everyone else it was kind of a hot mess but in a good way.

We’re busy making our own Christmas memories and traditions. One of my favorite (and Dylan’s too) is when we all pile together in the living room to watch “It’s A Wonderful Life”. We have homemade snicker doodles and fancy hot chocolate. But we can’t do that until we decorate. Hmmm, guess I know what I’m doing this weekend. Although I can almost guarantee that no wire hangers will be harmed in my Christmas decorating this year but ya never know.

Enjoy your moments where you find them; you never know when the memories you’re making are the awesome ones. I really miss Dad and his crazy ideas. I miss his big mouth, his bigger laugh and his absolute delight in his family.

Merry Christmas Dad wherever you are. Your spirit lives on in each of our hearts especially at Christmas.

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