I’m running a little behind schedule. Actually, I think I’m right on time, but according to retailers and most of the people in the area, I’m over a month behind with my decorating for Christmas.

When I was growing up our tree was never put up until the first weekend in December. Mainly because we always had a real tree and keeping it hydrated ‘til Christmas was tough. Another reason was my Mom celebrates Christmas until the Epiphany. All of our decorations, most importantly the nativity, stayed up until January 6 when the Magi arrived where Jesus lay in a manger. So in our house Christmas WAS from December 25 through January 6. Hence, the true meanings of “The 12 Days of Christmas” carol.

Now that I’ve shared a little knowledge and got to use the word “hence” which always makes me feels smarter, I can continue with my reason for being late in my decorating.

I, just like many others, have experienced that awkward moment when I realized…. I’m just like my Mom. Unlike most of the world these days, I like to enjoy my holidays separately, not letting them mingle, just like the food on my plate can’t touch each other. Things are better when enjoyed in their own time and space. I don’t have a Christmas tree with my Thanksgiving turkey let alone my Halloween goblins. Just as I’d never hide Easter eggs on Valentine’s Day.

Christmas was NEVER about the tree for me. It was about the HUNT for the tree. My older siblings were all married and out of the house when I was growing up. Being the tag-along allowed me the privilege of going on this annual hunt alone with my Dad. He’d grab the handsaw and we’d jump in the farm truck and head to the woods to find the perfect cedar tree. The Walton’s had nothing on us!

Of course, I’d always find a big, beautifully shaped tree and beg Dad to cut it down. He’d laugh and say “That one’s 20 feet tall!” I soon learned the “how to measure a tree to fit in the living room” maneuver. I’d stand next to a tree on my tip toes and raise my hand high like I was asking to leave class to pee. If the tree was taller than my waving hand, it wouldn’t fit. I have to admit that recently I stood next to a tree in Hobby Lobby and raised my hand. Even though this artificial tree was tagged with a “7 ½ foot tall” label, I still had to check. Must be the Missouri “Show Me” trait coming out.

We’d drag that tree out of the woods to the truck and take it home. Dad would put it in the tree stand and Mom would decorate it. Dad and I would move on to another activity while she decorated. Hot chocolate and a card game usually, but we never hung a ball on that tree we had a blast finding. Not that she wouldn’t let us, we had just already had our fun with the tree.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas trees. I have five up in my house right now. None of which will ever be pictured in a magazine. But they are literally filled with memories. Yearly ornaments added to commemorate something special from each year. Our first Christmas together, our new house, and the three baby’s first Christmas ornaments to name a few. Several made my kids at school that cause embarrassment and their need to hide them on the back of the tree. But all the ornaments bring back special, individual memories of times and people that have passed. Some even make me cry because the image in my mind is so clear I think I can touch them. I miss Dad most, but his memory surrounds me.

Now that I have a family of my own, our hunt includes going to the shed and finding the boxes that contain the trees, lights and ornaments and making the trek across the yard into the house. That in itself is quite an adventure. It’s amazing the things we find that we forgot we had. A case of A.D.D. takes our minds off our Christmas objective and envelopes us in a live episode of a “Hoarders” intervention. Pretty sure I’m just one box of crap away from being featured!

After “Hoarders” and a word from our sponsors, the feature presentation of Christmas resumes. The artificial trees in all their plastic splendor will endure so much longer than their organic counterparts. Heck, I’ve had some for over 10 years and they’re still green! This makes the “Mom in me” plan of celebrating all 12 days of Christmas an easy task…. Right?

Honestly, I’ve been guilty of not making it until the Kings come on January 6th. Seriously! Advancements in transportation have happened. If I can get a package from Amazon in two days, surely those three foreign guys can go see a new baby in less than 12! Unless they are getting held up in airports with pat downs and metal detectors. Do you have to declare myrrh?

I hope the wisdom I pass on to my kids is to relish the joys of each holiday. Make each one special in its own time. Never serve Thanksgiving turkey with a side of candy corn, and never let your gravy get into your cranberry salad cuz… well…. That’s just gross!

Until next time, find YOUR Wisdom….Accidentally.