Bows And Lights- And Memories

My older son tied on 79 red bows!
My older son tied on 79 red bows!

Fresh off the high (or “low”?) of Black Friday, we delved into hauling out our Christmas decorations.  (I’m not being sarcastic- I love holiday decorating.)  Every year, the kids excitedly adorn our tree with sixteen years of accumulated ornaments (many purchased each year on the day after Christmas.)  Our tree might look gaudy to the outside eye, but for us, it’s a beautiful testament to life, love and family.

A few weeks ago, I went out dinner with some ladies from the neighborhood.  I don’t really fit in, but this monthly gathering is my attempt to be semi-social.  Anyway, the conversation went something like this:

Lady:  Has anyone seen that house with all the decorations?

Me:  Oh yeah, it’s great!  He started decorating back in October.

Lady:  It looks like he bought everything from the dollar store or a garage sale.

This house "lights" up my kids' faces.
This house “lights” up my kids’ faces.

Oops.  Another social cue totally missed by me!  To some, this man’s house might look like overkill.  But I wonder if his decorations hold the same memories that our tree does?  I bet they do.  Here’s another thing:  his house makes my kids smile.  Whenever we drive by at night, we slow down so they can gawk at the lights.

I always thought happiness was an intended by-product of the holidays.  When I see my kids’ eyes wide in wonder (even my eleven-year-old- which trust me, doesn’t happen often) I can’t help but think such decorating with abandon is a fabulous idea.  (Side note:  decorating to the hilt in order to show up the neighbors, is NOT in the holiday spirit.  And, when decorating becomes a chore that no one wants to do, it should be stopped!)

On Sunday, the kids and I went shopping at Wal-Mart, Big Lots, and the dollar store.  We ended up with 215 ornaments, 27 feet of beaded garland, 8 boxes of lights and 82 red bows.  The kids had a blast hanging the colorful ornaments on our trees and my older son relished his role of supervisor while guiding my husband as he strung the lights.  (“Higher Dad, go higher!”)

12-3 Tree Lights

When darkness came, we stood shivering in the street, admiring our imperfect handiwork.  The kids were so excited because this was the first time we’ve ever decorated outside.  I’ve promised we’ll go shopping the day after Christmas to get more lights for next year.  Oh, and Pickles wants a lighted reindeer- maybe two.

My, what will the neighbors think?

Hmmm…turns out, I really don’t care.  It won’t dim our family’s joy in the least 🙂

34 thoughts on “Bows And Lights- And Memories

  1. suzicate December 4, 2013 / 11:19 AM

    You’re crating lovely family Christmas traditions and memories!

    • jannatwrites December 5, 2013 / 12:01 AM

      I hope so! Time will tell 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Suzicate!

  2. jenniesisler December 4, 2013 / 11:34 AM

    My mother puts up four Christmas trees and puts up lights and garland outside – it’s joyful abandon and as long as it’s done in the right spirit, I say the more the merrier. Wintertime is so dark and cold, why not bring some light and love to the world while we can?

    • jannatwrites December 5, 2013 / 12:03 AM

      Four trees? I’m impressed! We’re still trying to get the ornaments on our one tree (it takes forever because I’m obsessive about keeping them in the original boxes and the kids aren’t allowed to just tear into them.) Glad you stopped by, Jenn!

      • jenniesisler December 5, 2013 / 7:32 AM

        Yeah my mom is the anti-grinch when it comes to Christmas decorations. I don’t even want to know how many ornaments she has, but she covers the trees in the foyer, the den, the florida room and the kitchen. The kitchen tree is the “kid” tree that my sister and I decorated when we were young (Mama didn’t want us breaking her antique ornaments) and now my niece and nephew do to. I make them an ornament every year so I’m adding to the chaos. I’ll do a post when I finish them and share pics.

        • jannatwrites December 6, 2013 / 12:04 PM

          Oh, I hope you do share pictures of what you made, Jenn. I’d love to see them!

          We finally got the ornaments on the tree. I hope the cats don’t knock it over because I might lose a few ornaments on the tile. (I gave up on the tree skirt…every morning I find it somewhere other than the tree. Now I know what the cats do all night!)

        • jenniesisler December 8, 2013 / 12:24 PM

          That reminds me of something a friend said to me this morning – she has been on a nonbreakable ornament buying spree due to her cats and the fact that they sleep in her artificial tree.

        • jannatwrites December 9, 2013 / 12:10 AM

          Sleeping in the tree is new – that could be a cute photo! Mine like to play in it…one of them in particular is quite feisty 🙂

        • jenniesisler December 9, 2013 / 7:25 AM

          So for your cats pine trees are like catnip? Must make it an interesting holiday then:D

        • jannatwrites December 9, 2013 / 10:59 AM

          It’s funny because it’s not even the scent – we use an artificial tree! Maybe the manufacturer coated the branches in catnip just to be cute 🙂

  3. Debbie December 4, 2013 / 11:50 AM

    I love the red bows on the stair railing — so festive! I commend you, Janna, for getting the boys involved and letting them help. When they “own” the work, they become that much more proud of it! Too bad so many folks let their Grinch side take center stage and try to ruin the holidays for those of us who love them!!

    • jannatwrites December 5, 2013 / 12:05 AM

      Some of the ties were a bit short, but he finally got the job the done with the bows 🙂 I love the holidays and we all enjoy having some spiced tea and decorating. It’s been so hectic around here, I’m running behind, but we just might have the decorating done by Christmas, Debbie!

  4. nrhatch December 4, 2013 / 12:41 PM

    Don’t let anyone dim your JOY . . . or your lights. 💡

    • jannatwrites December 5, 2013 / 12:06 AM

      Haha…the only thing that will dim our lights will be the sight of our electric bill! Our joy will survive though, Nancy 🙂

      P.S. Cool emoticon…hadn’t seen that one before.

  5. passionatedreaming December 4, 2013 / 4:45 PM

    Don’t let that scrooge ruin how you and your family spend your christmas! great read!

    • jannatwrites December 5, 2013 / 12:09 AM

      I appreciate you stopping by, Passionatedreaming! Their opinions won’t affect us…I just found it interesting. I’m pretty frugal, so I won’t think twice about rummaging through decorations at a yard sale 🙂

      • passionatedreaming December 5, 2013 / 8:31 AM

        We need more decorations in my home… My poor daughter only has a pre lit tree with a few ornaments here and there to look at…. moneys tight for the moment so hopefully i can get some more things up to christmas up my home soon!

        • jannatwrites December 6, 2013 / 12:06 PM

          I hope you can find more decorations, Passionatedreaming. The dollar store might have some things that will work for now. After Christmas is really the best time to buy, so at least they’ll be ready for next year.

        • passionatedreaming December 6, 2013 / 3:27 PM

          Definitely will be in the dollar store this weekend… thanks for the tips!

        • jannatwrites December 9, 2013 / 12:03 AM

          I hope you can find some decorations you like. Good luck!

  6. Eric Alagan December 4, 2013 / 4:56 PM

    “Lady: Has anyone seen that house with all the decorations?
    Me: Oh yeah, it’s great! He started decorating back in October.
    Lady: It looks like he bought everything from the dollar store or a garage sale.”

    Can’t help but to shake my head at your “Lady” friend. You saw beauty and joy but she saw a tempting piece of glass —


    • jannatwrites December 5, 2013 / 12:11 AM

      In her defense, she did pass by when we were doing our decorations and that other house came up in conversation. She mentioned that she hadn’t seen it at night. I told her she should- the kids love it. If she saw the lights, she just might change her mind a little (maybe :)) Thanks for reading and sharing your comment, Eric!

  7. Lance December 4, 2013 / 8:18 PM

    My wife is asking to put up a second tree and buy more ornaments. I’m glad our families are so into this…just more we all have in common

    Merry Christmas

    • jannatwrites December 5, 2013 / 12:15 AM

      Oooh, a second tree would be lovely – I hope you go for it, Lance! There is just so much to love about the holidays (and that doesn’t include going to the mall!)

  8. pattisj December 4, 2013 / 8:57 PM

    I love that your boys are gung-ho with decorating. There are a couple yards in our neighborhood that resemble the first photo. Now they do Halloween the same way! I can only imagine what their garage looks like the rest of the year (with decorations waiting to be displayed). There used to be a house that could be seen from the interstate when decorated for Christmas–bright light lit up the sky and many a traveler took the next exit to go see it. It was totally amazing. Cars would line the block, it was on everyone’s list to see.

    • jannatwrites December 5, 2013 / 12:20 AM

      Phoenix had a few houses that decorated like that, Patti. Eventually, one of our favorites stopped doing it…I think the neighbors complained about the traffic. Those houses are great to look at, but probably not much fun to live near!

  9. Kathy Combs (@Kathy29156) December 5, 2013 / 6:24 AM

    I love it! We always get excited about decorating the house for Christmas too. I never have been big on decorating the outside of my house though. I like the lights where I can see and enjoy them so we decorate the inside to the hilt with lights everywhere! That way we only light the Christmas lights at night and can see for anything we need to do! ♥

    • jannatwrites December 6, 2013 / 12:02 PM

      We’ve never done the outside until this year. And we did the trees since our house can’t be seen that well from the street. When we look out our front windows, we can see the lights, too. I love the idea of having the Christmas lights on only indoors. I had thought about doing lights down the stairway railing next year, but I don’t know if it will work…the cats are already making a game of chewing on the red bows! Thanks for reading and sharing your love of holiday decorating, Kathy 🙂

  10. Sean December 5, 2013 / 8:33 AM

    That is awesome. I’m not decorating this year because I’ll be at my old stomping ground for Christmas. I want to do the computer things for timed lights and displays but have not had the time to get everything set up. I think I have enough lights as I have been buying them after Christmas for some time. I’ll probably decorate next year if our house sells. It may look like Clark Griswald’s house did in Christmas vacation lol. Enjoy the season and may it fill your heart with love.

    • jannatwrites December 6, 2013 / 12:12 PM

      The computer-timed lights are cool. They just had someone on the news last night from Cave Creek who has a fairly elaborate display. I’m not sure if you can get too many lights – I hope you’ll share pictures of your handiwork, Sean! Thanks for stopping by and spreading the joy – hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your family!

      • Sean December 9, 2013 / 2:21 PM

        I’ll have to see if I can find that house. When I was in high school, a friend’s house made the paper one year. It’s become very elaborate since then.

        I see you finally allowed us to see your face 😛

        • jannatwrites December 9, 2013 / 11:52 PM

          I hope you find it…looked pretty cool on TV so I imagine it’s even better in person.

          Yeah, I’ll show my face for now. Not sure I like this gravatar, but I was bored with the last one and I haven’t had a chance to take a different photo. Priorities 🙂

  11. agjorgenson December 5, 2013 / 8:21 PM

    My wife is gaga about decorating, and I am delighted to see that it has rubbed off on our young adult children, who are still appropriately child-like at Christmas!

    • jannatwrites December 6, 2013 / 12:16 PM

      Childlike wonder at Christmas is so joyful – and even more so when it’s the adults who can capture the magic. I’m glad your family has the spirit, Allen!

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