Jayne's Big Adventure with a Peewee
By Jayne Bullock, Staff Writer
Reproduction and rewrite of article published Dec. 14, 1994 in The Daily Tribune
I love Christmas – it’s my favorite time of the year. Christmas is about family and friends, singing carols, renewing faith, decorating and having fun with holiday traditions. Tradition is what Christmas is all about. At our house, the traditions begin the first week in December – never before. I want Thanksgiving over with before any thoughts of Christmas enter my head.
Some of our family traditions began when my husband Paul and I were married. A few were incorporated from each of our own families while other traditions were added throughout the years. Usually, each room in our house is decorated with a variety of homemade decorations and Christmas treasures such as angels and a crèche – enough to make a good-sized village of characters coming to pay homage at the stable. There are also snowmen, Christmas bears and a Victorian village called Chesterfield.
But my favorite decorating is the tree. I usually take care of assembling the tree, adding the ornaments and lights. Sometimes I do get a helping hand from the children and husband. This year, Whitney, our five-year-old granddaughter, and I tackled the project. She had come to spend the weekend and share her artistic talents on the holiday décor.
First on our decorating agenda was a trip to the nearby mall to pick up a few necessities – like the lights. Just selecting those twinkling beauties can be a consumer nightmare. You almost have to be an electrician or mathematical genius to figure out what you want those lighted strings to do. You can pick 75, 100, 150 or more on a string and even include programmable circuits for light flashes and music. Patiently, to my surprise, Whitney (whose constant chatter had not stopped since she wandered into the kitchen for her bowl of Fruity Pebbles) waited while I read the labels and made a selection.
Next on the list was a new angel for the tree top. There has almost always been an angel guarding the top of the tree. We have had several throughout the years and even had large bows atop the tree for a few years. Since last year’s angel had become raggedy, grew weary and died, we needed a new one.
Thus, it was up to Whitney and me to find a replacement. We headed down the angel aisle at Walmart. There were many angels on the shelf begging for a new home. We stopped to touch, inspect and discuss what made each one special. Of course, the two of us were about as far apart as the north and south rims of the Grand Canyon in choosing the best candidate for our tree. But it was to be Whitney’s choice. Amidst all the colorful angels on the shelf, she chose one dressed in plain white with lots of silver sparkle.
“Isn’t she beautiful?” Whitney asked with such innocence. And with that, we purchased the chosen angel and were soon on our way home to decorate.
At home, we began assembling our artificial tree (I long ago discovered fresh pine boughs don’t agree with my nose). Our big tree always sits in one corner of the basement family-room and is filled with the numerous ornaments collected throughout the years. It is a task to be sure as the artificial greens (about 75 plus branches) are brought out of storage and inserted into the metal stem.
“I’ll sort the branches and fluff them. You can stick them into the tree,” I told my elfin helper, her chatter about every subject on earth filling the air. About half-way through the task, she walked over to the tree box and looked in at the branches still left to insert in the tree stem.
“I can’t reach any more Grandma,” she said. “I’ll fluff and you put them in.”
Once we had the tree assembled and the lights and garland on the tree, it was time to add the ornaments. There is much to be said about the creativity of a kindergartner. Plus, there is the old adage: “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.” Giving little regard to color, size or shape, most of the ornaments Whitney placed on the tree were clustered on a few selected branches she could easily reach. For the final touch, the new angel was placed on the tree top. Whitney then stepped back to view our work.
“It’s beautiful,” she said.
I agreed. Although many of the decorations were clustered in one spot, overall the tree looked exceptionally special – all due to my elfin helper. And the best part was that Whitney and Grandma had a wonderful day together – a moment we would both treasure in later years.