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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Nothing tests the family dynamic quite like preparing for the holidays.

It started the weekend before Thanksgiving when we took advantage of the not-yet-freezing temperatures to put up the outside lights. Mikey was wearing his Halloween costume. Yes, you read that correctly: putting up Christmas lights before Thanksgiving whilst wearing a Halloween costume. Anyway…

Every adult on the planet knows that hanging outdoor holiday lights is a terrible task, so it’s no surprise Mikey whined and complained throughout the entire process. He much more enjoys decorating the Christmas tree, which is also my jam.

So, the day after Thanksgiving we headed to the tree farm and hoofed into the woods to select the perfect specimen. My husband and I were looking for something a little less “full,” since last year the tree took up so much room that I cursed every time I passed by it. The 5-year-old, however, was looking for the largest tree on the planet.

We compromised by selecting a tree with more height, less bulk. Not quite “tall and skinny,” but a much better selection than the XXL tree we had last year. That evergreen fell over in the middle of the night. But don’t worry, this year my husband ordered some super-duper tree stand that only cost us three-figures… just like the tree.

Mikey was very “helpful” in directing us as to where to position the tree. And by “helpful” I mean he made sure to scurry in-between and under-foot while my husband and I were “aggressively discussing” whether the tree was straight before locking it in place. I thought it needed to go a little more left, while he thought it needed to go to the other left.

After it was in place (for the record, I was right), it was time to fill the reservoir of the tree stand with water. You know what happens when you have a super-duper tree stand? It holds a heck-ton of water. Now, since my husband spent so much on the stand, he refused to buy the $10 watering funnel that is attached to a long tube so you don’t have to crawl under the tree to water it.

But that’s OK, because we have a 5-year-old and he is fantastic at crawling under the Christmas tree!

You know what he’s not so fantastic at? Pouring the water into the reservoir at the base of the tree. Oh, well. You win some, you lose some.

Next, it was time for the fun part – decorating! Mikey had so much fun finding his Spiderman, R2-D2, Baby Yoda and other favorite ornaments. He also liked finding the ornaments that have family photos on them, and the ones he has made throughout the years.

And he really loved putting them all on the same branch.

This happens every year, and every year the Type A part of me begins vibrating with anxiety while the rational part silently repeats: “It’s fine. Everything’s fine. The tree doesn’t have to be even. Your child is having fun. Just let it go.”

The next day we decided to continue diving right into the holiday season by making cut-out cookies. I forgot how much fun Mikey has rolling out the dough and using the cookie cutters to make little Christmas trees, angels, gingerbread people and other fun holiday shapes.

I also forgot that Mikey prefers to treat the cookie dough more like Play-Doh, non-stop rolling it out and then crumbling it all together again, saturating it in flour. I could her my mother’s voice in the back of my mind telling me that the more flour you add and the more you work the dough the drier and tougher it gets, and the neurotic woman in me started to reappear.

But we have wine, so by the time we were done with the decorating, and powdered sugar and sprinkles were covering our clothes, as well as stuck in-between the floor boards, that neurotic woman was nowhere to be seen.

Next on the list of holiday prep is deciphering what Mikey has on his gift wish list. So far he’s asked for a game called Monkey See Monkey Poo, a WWE action figure vehicle “Wrekkin Rampage Rig” truck, and some Goo Jit Zu stretchy toys. Apparently Super Mario Bros and Sonic the Hedgehog are so last year. May they rest in peace.

And so, the Crocco Family is rolling right into the holiday season – and we’re coming in hot!

Also, for anyone losing sleep over it, I got up in the middle of the night and redistributed the ornaments on the Christmas tree. All is now right in the world.

Holly Crocco is editor of the Putnam County Times/Press and mother of a 5-year-old. She can be reached at editorial@putnampresstimes.com.

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