Yesterday and today have been dubbed “Christmas Decoration Days” at our house, and they have been wonderful. I started out yesterday just hoping I could get a little bit of decorating done while I took care of Dante, but he charged into it with joyful abandon. He helped me unpack our artificial tree, and gleefully ran back and forth grabbing branches and setting them into piles. We spread all the little twigs out on each branch, and hung them in layers, bottom to top, until we had a convincing replica of a live tree. (Dante kept saying, “No, AN alive tree.” I tried to explain the various uses of “live” and “alive”, but I don’t think much teaching penetrated the cloud of Christmas excitement.)
We hung the lights and the garland, and when we turned the lights on, he took a deep breath and whispered, “It’s pretty.” His face was radiant with joy. It was a time-stoppingly happy moment for me.
The three of us hung ornaments on the tree, and he had a fantastic time doing it. We had to keep reminding him not to hang them all on the same branch, but he could not have been cuter as he handled each ornament, exclaiming its identity: “Paddington! Santa! A star! A silver ball!” Once they were all hung, he kept showing them to us. “Look mama, a duck! Daddy, look, a polar bear! Daddy, there is something you love! Spider-Man!” (Yeah, we have a wide variety of wacky Christmas ornaments.)
Today he helped Laura decorate the rest of the house, fascinated with all the little candles, tiny trees, glass beads, and other such tchotchkes. He kept inhaling deep sniffs of a big cinnamon candle and then working his face into a hugely surprised expression. He’s spent the last 48 hours running around and naming off all the exciting things he can see. (A snowman! A bell! A lit-up angel!)
It is, by far, the best time I have ever had decorating for the holidays.