Early Lights

I have been doing lunges to prepare for the marathon of trips up and down our stairs to haul Christmas decorations from the attic.

We already have our outdoor lights up, but that’s because every year in my old neighborhood, one overachiever lit up our Preston Hollow drag by midnight on Thanksgiving night – like an ode to Paul Revere that Christmas is coming.

The home had snowmen, elves, and a life-size sleigh with Santa.

There was so much pressure to erect, build, or inflate a Christmas character that we just had to move.

And, as a feminist, I had to take a stand against systemic sexism. Where were the girl elves and female Frostys?

In our new neighborhood, I wanted to be the pace car.

For the last two years, our house has been ablaze in lights by mid-November. And, true to my word, our decor is gender-neutral, although I am considering adding a Nutcracker – which is a subtle nod to my equality issues.

So far, our neighbors have been silent on the premature lighting, but oddly enough, within minutes of our Aurora borealis luminescence, several other homes lit up too. Drats.

Inside our home, a holiday decorating miracle transpires.

I’ve seen the Hallmark movies where families adorn their tree serenaded by their jolly laughter. Not so in our house. I invite everyone to participate, but the kids, and most often my spouse, don’t achieve the proper BOD (balanced ornament distribution).

What’s worse is that nary a one is detail-minded as they casually place homemade ornaments on our fancy tree and fancy tree ornaments on the kid’s tree. How do such basic Christmas decorating rules evade them?

Despite their failings, I am a gift-giving gorilla.

Each year, we strategically announce that the year will be lean — 2021 has the pandemic, choked supplies chains, and rising chardonnay prices.

The urchins appear sympathetic to the parental dilemma of how much to give, and yet their lists of desirables match that of Tom Brady negotiating his next contract.

And, just like that, our family traditions emerge. It wouldn’t be Christmas unless I am stressed lighting, decorating, and shopping while the rest of the family bakes cookies, watches old movies, and waits for the magic of Christmas morning.

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Michele Valdez

Michele Valdez, a slightly compulsive, mildly angry feminist, has been an attorney, volunteer, and The Mad Housewife columnist. She has four demanding adult children and a patient husband.

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