Friday, November 25, 2016
Thus describes my annual tree trimming escapades.
Please forgive the literary and film references above, but when it comes to this seasonal ritual I've often felt that the trials and tribulations are too bizarre to be reality. Year in and year out no matter how organized I might be, no matter how much time I allow, decorating the tree is a painfully frustrating exercise. A problem arises and I hopefully address it the next year, only to find another problem arising.
Yet, always, always, the end result is worth every miserable moment. There is such warmth to be found in the glow of a Christmas tree. It's the beckoning light for family to gather around, for friends to be entertained by.
But first, the agony, the war and the mess. We've always had an artificial tree. For convenience I guess, though that suggestion is rather laughable. The early ones were ridiculous imitations and a lot of work. Branches were stuck in individually by hand. The holes would split, the branches droop as a result. Our modern version has far greater aesthetic appeal, but is cumbersome to put in place. Also, it came with pinecones and clumps of 'snow', that are the bane of my existence. Not only do they fall and make a mess, but they're difficult to decorate around.
The real challenge, though, is the lighting. First it's the tangled strings, an issue we believe now to have resolved with improved storage. Then it's the dead strings, which work fine when you check them but for unexplained reasons quit on the tree. Progress is thus delayed until we can purchase new ones.
Over the decades the task has resulted in toppled trees, broken ornaments, mismatched lights and strings of off-colour words.
I took on this year's project early this week, in the evenings after work. Various, sadly- anticipated woes cropped up so that it took three different sessions to complete. The requisite useless strings of lights took my hubby on a shopping excursion, prior to which he was duly advised to be watchful of getting the 'warm' LED tone, rather than the cool. Of course, the next night he delivered three brand new packages of the wrong ones.
After his successful shopping the next night, the weaving through the branches of the last quarter of the tree began. Several attempts were made to get them spaced nicely during which there was the requisite gnashing of teeth, tugging of cords and stomping of feet. Of course, none of this would be normal without the accompaniment of some profanity to spice things up.
Finally, by 9 o'clock the job was complete. All the frustration eased away as I appreciated the beauty of this festive tradition. Images of snuggling beside the tree on chilly winter nights, gently falling snow and a room full of laughter and love soothed and comforted. I had reached the joyful part of this seasonal tradition — the time to relax and enjoy the peace and pleasure of my wonderful life.
As we head into December, trimming the tree will be happening in homes everywhere, at various times, with varying degrees of success. But regardless of how smooth, or not so smooth, the process goes the end result is a welcome addition to our holidays. We celebrate here with delightful collections of Christmas tree clipart:
iCLIPART.com Christmas Tree Illustrations
Clipart.com Christmas Tree Illustrations
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Thanksgiving is still a few days away but there's no question it's already beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Storefronts and interiors are decorated, shelves are stocked in anticipation of the Black Friday hordes.
At home, people took advantage of a warm fall to get the exterior of their houses adorned with festive greenery and lights. Then fully in the spirit, they shifted their energy indoors. Snowmen and santas took their places. Garlands graced mantels and staircases. Furniture was shuffled and the tree erected in pride of place. The efforts bring warmth to every room, an invitation for family to gather and share life, love and laughter together.
All of this takes time, of course. Busy, busy describes this season, as weeks are spent in various aspects of the holiday preparations. Besides checking off the list and decking the hall, there is baking to do and gifts to be wrapped.
Now, too, people will begin addressing their Christmas cards. Some opt for family pictures — a good way to make faces, seen infrequently, familiar again. Others send traditional messages of peace and goodwill in cards graced by an image of pastoral winter landscapes, smiling St. Nicks or the gentle nativity scene.
The list can be long, including the loved ones we cherish right on down to distant acquaintances — anyone to whom we wish to reach out with a message of cheer for the holidays.
My husband comes from a large family and for many a night during decades of Christmas seasons, I sat at the table addressing and stamping a massive number of cards. Of all the Christmas tasks it was the one that brought me the least enjoyment and was the only one completed with a perfunctory, I-could-care-less attitude. Even receiving them didn't bring me any particular pleasure. Nice, but nothing I couldn't live without. For me it really all felt like a colossal waste of money at a time of year when that could be better directed elsewhere.
The problem though is that I really did want to extend greetings to those near and dear or faraway yet familiar. How to resolve those conflicting feelings was something I wrestled with every November.
And then inspiration came in the form of an eGreeting from my sister and her husband. This, they explained, was in place of their Christmas card. The money saved on stamps would be directed instead to charity. We latched on to the idea with all the fervour of elves at deadline on Christmas Eve and have been giving money to those in need rather than Canada Post ever since, while still conveying our wishes for a joyous holiday season to everyone on our list.
Creating something festive and original to send their way is easy to with the terrific diversity of holiday backgrounds to be found with online subscription graphics services such as iCLIPART.com and Clipart.com. You can add text to a colourful background or frame your message in a cheery border. Here are some wonderful examples to inspire you:
iCLIPART.com Christmas Backgrounds
iCLIPART.com Christmas Elements
Clipart.com Christmas Background and Elements