Ghosts, and witches, and zombies, oh my!Â Driving to and fro as chores beckon, I canâ€™t help but notice the decorations honoring autumn and celebrating Halloween.Â It makes me smile and sigh at the same time.Â Just thinking about the energy required to festoon a house with little skeleton lights a month before the Christmas lights go up makes me tired. Ditto on the stacks of carved pumpkins, the lawn ornaments, the mounds of jewel-toned mums, the animated Frankensteinâ€™s, and so on.
Donâ€™t misunderstandâ€¦I love seeing the artistic vision people have, not to mention their joyous intentions and general good spirits.Â But somehow, somewhere, during the past few years my energy for such elaborate dÃ©cor has waned.
I used to have a modest supply of items for each holiday, and actually hummed as I gutted a pumpkin, dangled from a ladder putting up a pine swag, or colored Easter eggs.Â I hung holiday-appropriate wreaths on the door, changed out the various table centerpieces and candles, and scented the air with cinnamon or evergreen or lilac as needed.Â It was fun.Â Then.
I blame our trip to New Zealand and Australia a few years back for my present decoration apathy.Â We left on our grand adventure early in December that year, and didnâ€™t return until Christmas day.Â Actually, that was a special year because we left New Zealand on Christmas day eve, and returned to the USA on Christmas morning. Funny how that works.Â Two Christmasâ€™s! Score!
My husband, ever in the spirit of holidays big and small, decided we had to have a Christmas tree when our adult kids came over to open presents.Â I poo-pooâ€™d the idea of buying and decorating a full-fledged tree since Christmas was essentially overâ€¦even with two shots at it.Â Nonplussed, he returned to the house with one of those little 10-inch pre-decorated Norfolk pines.Â Ta-da!
I had to laugh as we stacked the gifts around this Charlie Brown-ish version of a Christmas tree, and admitted it felt more like Christmas because it was there. Â But, and itâ€™s a big but, I discovered I liked the minimal cleanup.Â It was a snap to take off all the disposable ornamentsâ€”I believe there were three of themâ€”and to place the little tree in our sunroom among the other plants as if it were in the witness protection program.Â It went something like thisâ€¦
Me to tree: â€œYou will no longer be called â€˜Christmasâ€™ tree.Â Your new identity is Norfolk Pine.Â Do NOT try to reclaim those little candy cane ornaments or your life will be at risk as Valentineâ€™s Day rolls around.Â You have heard of the Valentineâ€™s Day massacre, have you not, Mr. Pine?â€
The pine said nothing.Â Already playing his role.Â Smart.
The simplicity of that holiday opened new thought processes in general.Â I started pondering the benefits of no ladders, strings of tangled lights, or boxes and boxes of ornaments drug from, and returned to, the bowels of our crawlspace.Â No totes filled so full of Halloween dÃ©cor that I have to tape the tops on, or Easter grass exploding and finding its way into crevices for the next six months.Â I liked simple. I liked it a lot.
This year, with Halloween fast approaching, I mustered the energy to buy a bag of Snickers and to put one real, but small, (real small?) pumpkin on the coffee table.Â After a nap, I felt pretty good for the effort.
Is it just me feeling the years?Â How do you feel about decorating for the holidays?