Shining a light on Christmas – the Murray Way


So here’s how things go around Casa de Murray. We got our Christmas tree Friday night from the local lot we always patronize. Really nice family from the mountains runs it. They even tie the tree on your car for you. Got it home and put it in the garage because we were tired and hungry. Saturday Garrett and I brought it in the house, set it in the stand, helped Karen get it straight and screwed in. We were going to decorate Saturday night after Karen went out to wrap up Xmas shopping and a short trip to the grocery store. Only we didn’t because we were tired and hungry. So we got up this morning and started decorating, beginning with the three strands of Xmas lights we had, figuring it would easily be enough. Only it wasn’t. So I threw on some jeans – more on this later – zipped my Red Ventures Insurance hoodie and ran to the CVS a block away from the house to buy two more strands of 100 lights each, just to be sure. When I got back, Karen – wanting to stay busy – had been working on decorating the mantle. It looked great to me, but she wasn’t happy with the ribbon. So she went to a different type of ribbon, which looked great to me, but she wasn’t happy with the ribbon loops. So she redid the loops after some careful measuring. Meanwhile I’m just evaluating her work, offering encouragement, which is what I do. (insert smiley face here) She finishes and it looks great to me. And good enough to her. So I go to open the boxes of lights I’ve just bought so we can get back to the tree. Only I bought two boxes – 100 lights each – of white lights. Which don’t go at all with the multi-colored strands we have on the tree. So I throw my jeans back on and zip up my Red Ventures Insurance hoodie and go back to CVS, cursing my stupidity all along. One good thing about waiting to open the lights – I still had the receipt instead of throwing it away as I normally would have immediately. So I get to CVS and wait in a short but very slow line. I don’t really understand how much receipt the registered printed for the woman standing in front of me, who only bought one thing. But I returned the white lights with no problem. So then I went back to the Xmas light aisle and discovered why I bought while lights in the first place – there were no small boxes of multi-colored lights. I searched and searched, even in the hair products aisle, but no luck. So I went back to the Xmas light aisle and bought a 300-bulb multi-colored strand on a pretty cool hose-reel-like apparatus, which fascinated me. Even though I didn’t think I needed 300 more lights and was pretty concerned that we’d have loops and loops of lights surrounding the tree skirt. Oh, and remember those jeans and that RVI hoodie I threw on – you thought I’d forgotten the more on that later, didn’t you? Well, they were my oldest jeans still in the rotation. And right now they’re pretty stretched out. And I’ve actually lost a bit of weight over past couple of months or so. Which mattered, because I could feel them start to sag as I walked up to the register with my hose reel of lights occupying at least one of my hands. So I couldn’t pull them up, which had the potential to be an issue. But luckily my Red Ventures Insurance hoodie is long, long enough to mask the problem until I could get to the car. So I get home and open the hose reel of lights and find that the strand, as packed, ends with the male end of the prong. Only we need it to end with the female end. So I start unwinding the lights, figuring I’ll have to unwind the whole strand to get to the connector I need. And it was then that I got my first break of the day – it wasn’t a 300-light strand – it was three 100-light strands. So I only had to unwind one. Which we connected to what we had on the tree. Which finished it up. We added our ornaments – we have some really cool ones which we supplemented this year with ornaments we picked up in Cozumel and Honduras. TL;DR – we expected to be done by 11 a.m. or so. We finished at 3. And, yes, we were tired and hungry. But we have a pretty beautiful tree, in my opinion.

So that’s how we do Christmas trees – it might take us 56 hours from the time we start until the time we finish, but we wind up with something we’re proud of. And to think I suggested to Karen that we might need to consider an artificial tree this year …

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