Being good at doing Christmas

by James Wigderson | December 26, 2013 7:47 pm

Waukesha Freeman Page A6 Opinion, 12/26/2013  Capture3[1]

Being good at doing Christmas

Through the miracle of newspaper publishing I am writing this the day before Christmas and you are reading this the day after. It’s time travel.

By now you know if you were on Santa’s naughty or nice list. I’m always on the nice list. It’s because I’m so humble.

My son asked me Monday night why I was so cheerful. I told him it was because Christmas is coming, and it’s my favorite holiday of the year.

My neighbors can attest to how much our family loves Christmas. Our outdoor Christmas decorations go up as soon as Halloween ends. That way there is good weather for stringing the lights, and we make room for storing the Halloween decorations.

The Lovely Doreen from Waukesha has a different plan each year for placing the lawn decorations and the inflatable snow globe. She arranges them and re-arranges them until they’re just right.

I sit in the house and supervise. I’m good at it.

The finishing touch for the decorations is hanging a giant wreath from the peak of the house. The trick to hanging the wreath is getting it on the hooks without hitting the power lines coming into the house, all while standing on a wobbly ladder. If my neighbors are wondering why it takes me so long after Christmas to pull down the wreath, now they know.

Our Christmas tree goes up Thanksgiving weekend. My wife pulled down the tree from the attic right after we got back from the restaurant. The kids hung the ornaments this year while I supervised from the kitchen. I’m a good supervisor.

When the kids were younger, my wife would make her own candy. Homemade fudge and chocolate truffles, chocolate-covered caramel pretzel rods, and even chocolate-covered Oreo cookies. Take that, Michelle Obama.

But now the kids are older and we have more activities. So my wife has a good supplier of bakery that makes Christmas cookies as good as homemade. Shhh. Don’t tell anyone.

My job is to be quality control for the Christmas cookies. As you might guess, I’m good at the job.

Part of our traditions each year is to drive around and look at the Christmas lights on everyone’s homes. You can tell what the weather was like in the beginning of December by how many homes are decorated for Christmas.

I will never understand why some people wrap the trunk of a tree with a rope light and leave the rest of the tree bare. Either decorate the whole tree or don’t decorate the tree at all.

We added a new tradition this year by driving out to Hartland to see the Canadian Pacific “Holiday Train.” The company sends a decorated train around the country with a music act that performs at each stop. OK, the Santa Claus looked like he was being fed by Michelle Obama, but the lights and the entertainment were worth the short drive.

Another great family tradition is “Daddy guesses what he got for Christmas.” My daughter, the pretty and talented Moira Wigderson, is incapable of keeping a secret.

“Moira, what did I get for Christmas?”

“I’m not going to tell you this year. I’m just going to tell you it’s this big, and it came with a smaller box, and you’re going to use it every morning.”

So I’m looking forward to my new single cup coffee maker and the selection of coffee that came with it.

christmas tree[2]The final family Christmas Eve marathon starts by going to Catholic Mass to see my daughter perform with the church choir. Then it’s off to my parents for the gift opening and hot sandwiches.

When we return home, we discover Santa Claus came to our house a little early. We find soot from the fireplace on the living room floor and the cookies are eaten already. Next to the tree is a big sack of presents.

Christmas day is spent at my in-laws where the kids will open more gifts. With any luck I get a nap on the couch. I’m good at it.

From the Wigderson family to yours, may you have a merry Christmas and a happy new year. Cherish your family traditions, and remember to take the Christmas decorations down before Easter.

(Note: I really like my new coffee maker. – JW)

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