Tuesday, December 4, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas...

Everywhere you go.

Indeed it is, of course the stores are packed with Christmas goodies and the main streets around town are shining with lights but the Mahan house is taking on the look of Christmas itself. I started getting things out last week but waited til this weekend to start putting things in their place. We decided to go with a real tree this year. Ryan grew up with a real tree, me with artificial but always wanting a real tree.

When we moved overseas we didn't take any of our Christmas things with us because 1) the voltage on the lights is different and 2) we thought we would always spend the holidays in Texas. Our first Christmas away was a surprise since we had plans to go home and then I found out I wasn't going to be able to get the time off of work. And since it was our first Christmas being married and being away from family I was determined to find the perfect decorations for our house. Singapore's most famous past time is shopping and each mall usually has a 'specialization' so, you better believe there was a 'Christmas mall' with a whole floor dedicated to Christmas. I remember being so excited and our tree was beautiful; small but beautiful, perfect for our condo. It was a great Christmas that year because even though we were away from family (and it was HOT!!), we had great friends and Mom made sure we had presents under the tree.

Our second Christmas away was last Christmas and we just happened to be in the middle of a huge move to the UK. So, we were in a serviced apartment and that pretty little tree from last year was on it’s way North. Our serviced apartment lobby had a beautiful tree and we had a great Christmas Eve and Day celebration with friends but no real decorations of our own. Which brings me to why I was sooo excited about Christmas this year and how my expectations were through the roof.
Not our lobby tree but a tree from the lobby of a swanky hotel in Singapore, my favorite
Real Christmas trees when on sale on Saturday so Ryan and I were up pretty early to head down the road to pick ours out. Before going to get the tree we made a quick trip to Costco to looks for lights and other things we may need for the tree. This was the first realization that things weren’t going to be ‘easy’ or cheap for me and this tree. The price of the lights were not right so we said we’d look elsewhere. We picked up a few other things and we were off to get our tree.

We got the tree home and set up and I made a list of what to get at the next store, Dobbies, a garden center with a huge Christmas section. We had about four small strands of lights from Singapore that would work here but that wasn't going to be enough to cover my new 7 foot beauty so, lights were the main thing needed and of course an extension cord since where I wanted to put our tree was a good ways from the nearest outlet. Off to Dobbies to encounter my next hurdle. The lights were cheaper but what I forgot to mention in the paragraph above is that they only make outdoor lights connector lights which means that each strand has to be plugged into the main source. Not a huge problem when you can use a power strip to plug all of them in and then just plug the powerstrip into the extension cord and that into the wall. Problem solved, yes? No. Dobbies (and the guy made it sound like all of the UK) only sell power strips with a longish cord not an extension cord like I am used to unless it's a really long one on a reel.
Maybe not bright orange one, I think I had brown one that could be easily disguised. You get my point :-)

So, I bought the lights and was on my way. Ryan has a 50ft extension cord on a reel that I figured we would use and hopefully we could strategically place it behind something so it wasn't an eyesore to my potentially gorgeous tree. It took me all day to put the lights on the tree because I didn't just start over once or even twice but FOUR times before I Ryan was happy with the way they looked. This was my first real tree and you can't just move the branches to your liking, etc. Afterwards, I had a huge corded mess since all of them had to be plugged into the main source and I was exhausted; but, I got it all cleaned up and I had just enough ornaments from our Singapore tree to cover our new one and I think it turned out perfect. I get giddy every time I walk into the Christmas 'room' because I just love the look of Christmas.
Forth times a charm
You see that mess of cords to the right? Soon to be covered by a tree skirt and presents :-)

Our favorite ornament
I wanted to remember this story in as much detail as possible (even though some of it got ugly, I saved you those details) so I can laugh at how silly my reactions over everything not going 'my way' because at the end of the day, it turned out perfect. I think my expectations for Christmas are so high because every Christmas that I can remember was perfect and I want to continue the amazing traditions and effort that my parents put into it for me. But we must not forget the true reason for the season and we really shouldn't let things like extension cords and inconvenience fog our brains.

Any Christmas decorating stories?

1 comment:

  1. Funny how there are still surprises in store when it comes to different between US & UK ;) The tree looks FABULOUS! Can't wait to see it tonight!