In a fit of temporary insanity, we promised the kids we would decorate the house the day after Thanksgiving. My mind filled with hazy memories of a peaceful, solitary day deep-cleaning and artistically arranging treasured ornaments, interspersed with raids on the fridge for Thanksgiving leftovers, all to the soundtrack of favorite Christmas CDs.
We forgot that we would arise exhausted, that the children would be exhausted and cranky (and yet insistent on continuing as promised) and that their ideas of decorating would be very different from mine. Specifically, the older two's idea was to set things out equally spaced in straight lines or simply in a stack. The babies' idea was to throw everything on the floor and step on it, which I allowed them to do with the nativity blocks and the Melmac plates.
Having begun, though, we had to continue, and the future looked brighter after a nap. Thanks to a kind extended family member, we had a coupon for a free tree at a local farm. Their Majesties accompanied us in the truck, and we tromped through the woods in a brief and not-too-picky quest for the perfect tree. (Still a definite step up from tromping through the aisles of the hardware store.)
Once we returned home and had done sufficient battle to erect and put lights on the tree, we could move forward with the real decorations.
As always, the beads were immensely popular. We stuck to the non-breakable decorations this year. The kids insisted on having the overhead lights out most of the time, and D3 especially enjoyed basking in the glow from the tree, exclaiming, "Light!" (Today D4 picked up the nativity block with the star on it and exclaimed, "Light!")
We wound up with some not-too-hot apple cider. And then we shoved everyone in bed very quickly and collapsed. Not quite Hallmark, but the kids seemed to enjoy it.
However, the idea of taking Advent slowly and adding the decorations gradually is looking better all the time.