‘Twas the day after Thanksgiving
And all through the house
I ran a race horse
Getting Christmas décor out.

I gathered it all up
Both new and heirloom
And I wouldn’t stop
‘Till I’d filled every room.

I shared this annual ritual with many others.  I removed my regular décor, packed it in bins, stored the bins in the guest room, closed the guest room door and prayed that no overnight guests came until after the New Year.   Spent hours deciding exactly where to place which Christmas item to achieve the maximum effect.  Covered every inch of space with something that said ‘Christmas’. Erected a huge tree and decorated it with my complete collection of lights, garland, bows, ornaments, etc. Hung my antique angles from the chandeliers. Put train tracks throughout the house and had at least three model trains running on them. Displayed Christmas candles, candy dishes, etc. on the coffee table. Unpacked Granny’s heirloom Christmas plates, bowls, wine glasses, etc. and displayed them in the dinning room (of course, I spent hours polishing the good silver). Made sure to have appropriately themed toilet seat covers, soap dishes and towels in each bathroom. Decorated the mantle with Nativity scenes and elaborate miniature villages. And lined the hallways with baskets of Poinsettias. The list went on and on.

I began decorating on ‘black’ Friday and devoted at least a week to the task.  At the end of the week, I was exhausted and already dreading the task of taking it all down in a few weeks.

This year, shortly after I began running around like a whirling dervish, I paused and asked myself, “Why in the hell am I was doing this?” So, I stopped whirling, made a cup of tea, sat down and pondered the question.  I soon realized that all the frenzy associated with elaborately decorating my home was robbing me of time and energy that could be spent doing things that I really enjoyed. Things such as:
• Shopping and selecting gifts that delight the recipient.
• Listening to beautiful voices singing Christmas songs – even the silly irreverent songs.
• Making fudge and cookies.
• Attending church services and listening to the story of the Christ child’s birth.
• Cuddling by an open fire, drinking hot buttered rum or hot chocolate and whispering sweet nothings with someone special.
• Feasting my eyes on the sparkle, twinkle, glitter, shine and glitz of elaborate Christmas decorations that someone else has created.
I decided then and there to stop being slave to decorating my home. I made a quick trip to Wal-Mart, bought a 4 foot, pre-lighted tree, put a few cherished ornaments on it, got out a few special Christmas themed treasures to display on the mantle and called it done.

I’m happy to report that this change resulted in the most relaxed Christmas that I’ve had in many years. Now, this relaxed person has the energy to wish each of you a prosperous and delightful 2016.

Betty Freeman Haines is an author and award winning columnist who lives in Mesquite, NV.  Her books/e-books, Reluctant Hero and Grieving Sucks or Does It, can be ordered from amazon.com.