Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Santa Came Two Days Early

Dear Husband and I mentioned to a friend yesterday that we were skipping the Christmas tree this year. The local tree farm was closed the day we had planned to go tree hunting; I was gone on residency interviews for much of the month; DH was busy with rehearsals and performances when I returned; and we will be celebrating elsewhere with family, so it made sense to just put up the creches and outside lights.

Today DH got home from lunch to find Santa had sent elves with a tree AND working lights! While I was running errands, they moved the furniture around and set up the tree in its usual corner. They absconded just before I returned home, wondering aloud what DH had needed from the garage storage space, since he'd left his car in the driveway and the ladder leading to the attic down. "What's going on? Where did this plastic bag of lights come from? What are you laughing about?" I peppered him with questions while opening the card left on the dining room table: "Daddy wanted you have this tree. =) Merry Christmas!"

That's when I looked to my left and discovered...a real live evergreen tree, standing where my rocking chair usually sits. I threw back my head and laughed and laughed. DH captured the moment on his cell phone camera, because it's 2015, and that's what you do when your wife comes home and notices all the little things but not the one big change.

So we put on the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, heated up some Kahlua-spiked hot chocolate left over from a party, and decorated our hearts out. All the boxes came back out of the attic: bulbs, garland, star tree-topper. And the two ornaments that always go on the tree, no matter the theme for the year: a green glass pickle (my turn to look for it!) and the ornament I made in honor of our engagement 11 years ago. DH's immortal words from his proposal--"I can see what's important!"--adorn a shell I picked up from the beach on the Outer Banks. (He asked me to marry him at sunset; that morning he had lost his glasses in the post-storm surf.)

A tree and lights are not what are important about Christmas, but sharing the surprise and decorating together brought us closer as a couple and reminded us that a selfless gift is the reason for the season.

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