Ready for Christmas, but not decorating

Published 1:15 am Thursday, January 3, 2013

If you are reading this, it means the world didn’t come to an end on Dec. 21, 2012 as some predicted and we will celebrate Christmas Eve tomorrow on schedule and on Tuesday, it will once again be Christmas Day.

I’m happy to say I am ready for almost everybody’s favorite holiday – perhaps the favorite because it is viewed as such a joyful day by most, including me.

I know I have always loved Christmas — especially after it once gets here! I’ll admit the preparations aren’t always joyous ones for me. I have a very hard time making decisions about what gifts to buy for what people and then worrying that I didn’t make the right choices and should have bought what I left in the store. Also worrying if the food I cook will be really good for this special occasion!

You would think as an artist, I would really enjoy decorating for Christmas and particularly trimming the Christmas tree, but — here comes another confession —it really isn’t my favorite thing to do.

We quit using “real” trees a long time ago. I have a big tall “real” artificial tree, but I most always choose the smaller tabletop tree to decorate. I usually say we don’t have room for the big one and we really don’t — but truthfully, I don’t relish decorating that big tree. As long as I had kids at home, they did it, but now it is just me, I’d rather not!

I went to the storage shed to retrieve my little tree since time was passing and I couldn’t put it off any longer. When I lifted the box, I realized right away that it wasn’t heavy enough to be holding anything. For a few minutes I tried to remember what I had done with the tree… and then I spotted a big tree-shaped black garbage bag leaning against the wall.

Then I recalled that last year, not wanting to un-decorate it, I had placed a huge bag over the tree, sealed it with tape and stored it — decorations, lights and all! I was unabashedly overjoyed to realize I wouldn’t have to decorate it again.

It was in pretty good shape with just a few of the ornaments out of place and/or lying in the bottom of the bag. I pulled it out of the bag, fluffed it a bit, placed it on a pretty cloth-covered table, used a little tree skirt, replaced the stray ornaments and viola — my tree was ready to be plugged in and enjoyed. Once again it is out of hiding — a real pretty little tree!

I placed a few other decorations about the room and thought I had everything pretty Christmassy looking… until my 10 year-old great-grandson arrived. He looked approvingly around the room and innocently asked, “Where’s the mistletoe?” pointing to the light fixture above his head where a little bunch of plastic mistletoe resided last year. Heavens! I had forgotten the mistletoe! I promised to round it up and put it in its place before Christmas.

All holidays this year have been sad for us since we lost our daughter Robin in June and of course, we still miss the sweet presence of our granddaughter, Shannon, who died in 2007. When someone is missing, it is always sad, but we feel their presence at family times. Somehow we always make it through and it will also be a good Christmas. They would want it that way.

Today was also special for my family because it was my parents’ anniversary. In 1998, we celebrated their 65th before they both died in 1999. I always think about Mama telling us when she and Daddy married, her best friend’s father had laughed and declared it would never last because they were too different. That knot was apparently tied well, because it lasted so long – even though they were definitely very different.

Hopefully today between morning church and evening church, I’ll be making seafood gumbo for Christmas Eve. For Christmas Day my girls and I will prepare the traditional holiday foods for dinner. We are so thankful for another year together and another Christmas.

In spite of everything, the Breland family feels very blessed. We are also wishing all of you the most blessed Christmas possible, not just because it is a beloved family time, but because we celebrate the birthday of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who came to Earth in the form of a tiny baby to change the world. What a joyous thing to celebrate!

And actually, between you and me, do you think anybody is going to notice that the tree looks exactly like it did a year ago?

Nah! Merry Christmas y’all!

Retired Lifestyle Editor Bob Ann Breland, a resident of Pine, writes a weekly column and may be contacted at