For the first time in more than 10 years I've been excited about a little decorating for Christmas. I love the lights and the smell of a Christmas tree. Growing up my mom would enlist the entire family in decorating the weekend following Thanksgiving. We would string garland and lights on the banisters, bedeck the windows with lights, and tie red ribbons on nearly every object in the house that could accommodate a red ribbon. It was an exciting family project that, for me, heralded the start of the Christmas season. I had been in a relationship with a Jew for several years who objected to Christmas decorations. So, in the spirit of relationship harmony I swallowed my enthusiasm for decorating.
This year, BMG affirmed my interest in decorating, which has opened the floodgates for my inner Martha Stewart. But, the house isn't quite Turkey Hill Farm, so I knew I needed to start small. BMG and I decided no tree this year (the house still needs some work to make room for a tree). Sigh. I still wanted to decorate, so I decided I would string lights onto the wreath I bought to hang on the front post. But, no power source. Hmmm. What to do? Aha! I remembered using battery operated lights once for a work event, so I started to scour the ad circulars for similar Christmas lights that would just require a simple flick of a switch and, through the miracle of mercury or acid or whatever it is that makes batteries work, I'd have a tastefully lit wreath.
I found a deal on lights at Stop & Shop - buy two boxes of 15 lights each for $4. So, I bought two, wound the lights around the wreath, and wired the battery boxes to the back of the circle of greens. And then I ran out to buy size C batteries - ten of them because I remembered from my work experience that these lights took a lot of juice, and I didn't want to be unlit for even one more night. I excitedly put the batteries into the compartment, stowed the spares, and then tried to flick the switch for my "voila" moment.
One string of lights never lit. Apparently there wasn't enough tension on the battery buttons to make it work, no matter how many times I flipped the batteries over, switched them with new batteries, or tried to wiggle every possible moving part (and even some unmoving ones.) And the second string of 15 tiny white sparklers? The battery door was SOOOO tight that I had to turn the lights on and off with...my teeth.
While I LOVE Christmas lights, I love my teeth more. So, I've taken the battery operated lights off the wreath and thrown them away. And I've replaced the wreath with a beautiful (and free) swag given to me by Coop. The wreath is now indoors, hanging on the front window, looking festive and sharing its evergreen fragrance with us - a perfect substitute for a tree. (I may even hang ornaments on it.) My only string of regular Christmas lights is about 15 years old. And it is now at the bottom of a trash bag. Because it wouldn't work when I plugged it in after winding it around the indoor wreath.
No lights, no tree. The house is fragrant. And I don't feel stifled by my relationship. Feels like a perfect Christmas to me.