With a staple gun in one hand and icicle lights dangling from the other, I climb clumsily up the ladder. It wobbles with each step until I reach the roof line. I only am able to trigger two staples in before I have to climb down and reposition the ladder.
It takes a while to make my way around the front of the house. And when I reach the end, I’m still holding another 15 feet of lights. I shrug, climb down and continue stapling along the fence and then down to the ground.
After all, what else are you supposed to do with extra Christmas lights?
On the ground, I stake four tiny lighted snowmen along the walkway that requires at least 16. They look lonely — like I forgot to buy three more boxes with all their friends inside.
My light display, in a word, is pathetic. It’s the work of an obvious amateur, an unbalanced and tacky mess for which no car would stop and notice.
But to our 2-year-old son, Lyric, it’s pure magic.
“Ooh! They’re blinking!” he says every night of the snowmen’s gloves.
I stand back and beam brighter than those twinkling lights ever could.
As magical as Christmas was when I was a child, it doesn’t begin to compare to the excitement we’ve had sharing the season with our children this year.
For my family, Christmas 2010 promises to be one my wife and I will remember for the rest of our lives. For our daughter, Aria, it’s her first. And for Lyric, it’s the first one for which he understands some of the simpler concepts and can participate.
So eager to give our children a Christmas to remember, we’ve dived headfirst into the holiday’s cheesiest activities. My wife bought matching PJs for her and Aria and lamented that she could not find the same for Lyric and me.
In the last few weeks, we’ve seen Santa four times, indulged in a morning full of sweets at Christmas in Candy Land at Michael’s On East, rode the train at Lakewood Ranch’s Holidays Around the Ranch and shared pancakes with the Big Guy himself at The Polo Grill’s Breakfast with Santa.
Each night, Lyric has enjoyed one of my family’s famous gingerbread cookies. The tree-shaped ones are his favorite.
“Kind of like an arrow,” he says.
Meanwhile, Aria — now taking her first steps — is having a blast pulling ornaments off the tree and carrying them all around the house.
We have half of Toys R Us in wrapped boxes under the tree and the other half crammed into our bedroom closet. And who knows what else Santa will bring on Christmas Eve?
But with Lyric now able to comprehend some of the season’s magic and our beautiful Aria with us, I hope Santa’s reserved my spot in his sleigh for someone else. My heart and home are full of joy this Christmas, and my family and I are blessed.
However, Santa, if you insist: I really could use a few lessons on Christmas lights …
From all of us at The East County Observer: We wish you a Merry Christmas and hope you have found the magic and meaning of the season.
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It’s time for feasting on candy and family fun.
Merchants on Lakewood Ranch Main Street continue to mourn the surprising loss of fellow business owner Rebekah Hatmaker, co-owner of Serendipity Boutique.