As my longtime readers know, we go to my in-laws home for the long weekend after Thanksgiving to help deck their halls. The Viking hauls in the 'ol tree from the shed and everyone helps hang the 4 bazillion plus ornaments that my mother-in-law has accumulated over the years, spanning time from great-grandmother's antique paper stockings, to old shiny brites, to the more contemporary Obi Wan Kenobi and Chicago Bears themed baubles. This process usually takes around three days.
Yes, there are seriously that many ornaments.
Over the years, we've tweaked the activities around the weekend, depending on the kids' ages and everyone's energy levels. There are Christmas crafts, cookies to bake, usually one big restaurant dinner with extended family and shopping trips. Once we even attempted Black Friday. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't for us.
Every year there is a learning curve on how to do it better and this year, I think we nailed it.
The tree was up and decorated in a record-setting day. In fact, it was done before dinner on Friday. It helps that Good Girl and Goblin Queen are both finally old enough to help hang without hindering progress. On Saturday we had a long, leisurely restaurant luncheon with their cousins and my family. The kids baked cookies with their Aunt afterward and we relaxed around the house. The best part? After the kids went to sleep, we all opened our laptops around Grandma's big square table and did our shopping. Feet up in cozy slippers, no crowds, the ability to coordinate gifts for the children, discounts and free shipping... that's the way to do it, I'm telling you.
On Sunday we cooked a big turkey dinner with stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, rutabagas and cranberry wine. It was a great sendoff and I have enough leftovers to feed us for a few days while I ignore my usual chores to haul our decorations out of storage. If our holiday weekend was a taste of things to come, it's going to be a good Christmas season.
I'm in such a good mood, I'm even allowing the Viking to play his Christmas music as much as he wants. (For a metal guy, you'd be surprised how much that is.)