Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Traditions

First, I'll post up the pictures of our Christmas Tree and a funky picture I took of our outside lights (need to break out my wife's SLR).



So, I threw a picture of my son looking stoned in there too. Okay, first, for the record: there are 1,335 lights on our tree. That's 13 strands of 100 lights, plus our "Eat At Joe's" star on top of the tree. We'd put more on, but we ran out of tree. Lindsay stuffs it to the gills with lights.

Our Thanksgiving tradition is as old as I can remember. Thanksgiving Day is spent with family over an enormous dinner with tons and tons of good food. This Thanksgiving was especially large because Jeff and his fiance (and her two children), my wife and son and me, my aunt (and her other half), my grandfather, and of course my parents were there. Well, okay, we've had more before, but this was a good size. It's great to reconnect with loved ones, stuff your face, and try to move afterward. Yeah, I just spend most of the evening soaking in the tryptophan absorb into my system. I get so lethargic after Thanksgiving dinner. I think it's because it is the only day that I really go hog wild on the food. After all, there is a ton of it, and I love Mom's cooking.

The next morning, instead of camping outside of Wal Mart or Best Buy at 3am for a deal on a t.v. or computer, I sleep in as long as I can. This usually is until 8am. Not bad for a guy who normally gets up at 5am or so. I think Lindsay started this tradition, but I'm not sure. We went to late breakfast after getting our game plan together for Friday afternoon. Nope, we weren't shopping for Christmas presents. We were going Christmas Tree shopping.

Lindsay and I will be the first to admit it. We are complete snobs when it comes to Christmas Trees. It has to be perfect in every way, and we only buy Noble Fir trees. Why Noble Fir? They are fuller, have much stronger bows (to withstand the onslaught of lighting and ornaments), the needles don't just fall off all the time, they are greener longer, and will stay green until January 1, which is the day we take it down. This year, our tree will be up in our house for 35 days. You can't get that kind of longevity out of a craptastic Douglas Fir or even a Grand Fir. If you want a good tree, you get a Noble or you get nothing! But I digress...

We are the anti-fake tree. I hate them with a passion. Sure, they are easy, and sure they don't shed needles all over the place, and sure every year they make them look more and more real. I just don't see the point of spending $150+ on a tree that you will use for 2-3 seasons and then toss out when it breaks and go buy the next "more realer" looking tree. Just spend the $75 and get the real deal! Besides, I don't have to store my tree in my house or garage. I torch it when I'm done with it!

There is just something about a real tree that screams Christmas Spirit. Okay, yeah, Christ was born and blah blah blah. Hey, I read the story of the birth of Christ every year. And trees may have their roots in paganism (no pun intended), but trees are a symbol of Christmas just as much as Santa Claus and Frosty the Snowman. I personally like that all my friends, who see the tree in real life, love it. My son really got a kick out of it too. It's just not Christmas without a real fir tree in the house, lambasted in over a thousand lights, and topped off with a cheesy lighted star. That is tradition!

I also break out the lights to decorate the outside of the house. I was lucky this year to have a sunny day and somewhat warm air to work in. Hanging lights on my house is dangerous enough without rain and water everywhere. That's another deeply rooted tradition. We get our house decorated up and ready to hit the Christmas season with both barrels blazing! Of course, I will put up more lights as we go, but I like to get the main work done on Black Friday. It beats waiting in lines, listening to screaming kids and women who are complaining about whether something is 50% or 60% off. Nope, I just go to my Zen place and climb that ladder to hang more lights.

Now, I get to enjoy Saturday and Sunday without worrying about putting up lights. Hey, I'm the first guy on the block to do it every year, and each year my lighting gets better. This is the first year I gave icicle lights a shot and they look nice. Next year, I will be ready to do more lights, but I first need to install more GFCI outlets in the porch area. Next year, I'm going to hang clear lights on the upper roof, but I'm going to do it in the summer when the roof is dry and safe to walk on. It will be a more-or-less permanent installation, but it will be hidden when the lights aren't on. That'll make it safer in the winter when I go to light it off. Connect lights to go down either side of the house and tie in the back roof, and we will have a ton more lightage. I kind of have to decorate all 4 sides: 1, I'm on a corner. 2, you can see the back of my house really easily. 3. I can't just leave three sides decorated. That's awkward. I'm also going to decorate my garage this year if I have leftover lights.

The last tradition, which will take place after Christmas is over, is going to Target and other stores and buying strands of lights for 60-70% off to add to my growing selection of lighting, and to replace broken strands that have just had it over the years.

Welcome to the Christmas season!

-James

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