Saturday, December 20, 2008

Hurry Up, Santa*

It's the most wonderful time of year--the papers are graded, the tests are taken, and the next two weeks are dedicated to celebrating. Like most teachers at the end of a term (our fall term ends the Friday before Christmas) the past several weeks have been a mad rush to finish the teaching and testing, the grading and the meetings; I finished entering the last grade at 5:01 p.m. on Friday evening and collapsed, exhausted but secure in the knowledge that I do not have a stack of papers awaiting my return on January 6th. Let the holidays begin!

First on the very long list is decorating the house. Being married to someone that didn't celebrate his first Christmas until he was 22 is a mixed blessing--Stephen loves Christmas, but doesn't know how to decorate a house, so the major task of cleaning and decorating falls to me, with an assist from him. This year, the annual decorating frenzy had to wait until school was finished; I'm ready to start, but my assistant has a full schedule of photo shoots, so I'm on my own, once the decorations are out of the attic. All the work in the attic hasn't deterred the squirrels: we discovered the center well of the Christmas tree stand filled with fiberglass, used by some enterprising squirrel to line a cozy nest. Fortunately (for the squirrel), we aren't putting up a large, live Christmas tree this year, so his nest is secure for a bit longer.

Decorating this year is relatively easy: wreaths on the front door (one on each side), decorated, greenery, and the Victorian feather tree in "pride of place" in the living room. I'm particularly fond of this little tree, as it's perfect for the largish collection of glass ornaments we've amassed over 32 Christmases. They're the only things that go on the tree, and the result is a tree with a glittery, jewelry appearance. I've purchased most of the ornaments, but there are some that have come from the Christmas fairs in Germany, and others that were made in Poland. Two special ones are little gold and silver glass balls that were on our first Christmas tree in 1977--they don't look like much, but at least one of them has been on every single tree we've decorated together.

Once the tree was up, I got all the presents that are finished wrapped and under the tree. There isn't much--yet--but by Thursday morning, the table under the tree will be groaning under all the packages. I still have some Christmas shopping to do, and many gifts to finish before Thursday, so I need to quit writing and get back to work!

Next on the list: Finishing Christmas gifts.

*but not too fast.