The boys love to drive around and look at all the Christmas decorations. Our neighborhood, like most I assume, is filled with an assortment of white and colored lights and what my boys wistfully refer to as inflatables – those big blow up decorations of Santa waving, Santa on a motorcycle, penguins on a merry-go-round, Santa riding a polar bear, the Grinch climbing out of a snow globe and dozens more. There is a particular house a few streets down (you know the one, I’m sure it’s in your neighborhood too) where every square foot of their yard, trees, house, garage, shed and roof are covered with some kind of light or holiday figure. We slowly crept along the street in front of that house a couple times to give the boys a chance to see every last thing.

“Look at Pooh Bear singing Christmas carols!” one of us exclaimed.

“Where? I don’t see it, where is it?” another answered.

“Right there, next to Scooby Doo with the Santa hat.”

“Where, I can’t see it anywhere! Stop the car!” the younger yelled in an increasingly desperate tone, as if his life was suddenly in peril if he didn’t see what his brother had seen.

I stopped the car and pointed out the window. “See it, right there.”

“NO! I can’t see it! I can’t….oh, there it is, COOL! Matthew, see it? That’s cool.”

Fun times.

As we pulled in the driveway back at our house, we all admired (and evaluated) our own house and decorations. Of course we had just seen the granddaddy of the neighborhood, so naturally anything else is going to look subpar.

“Daddy?” Matthew asked. I knew what was coming. “Why don’t we have more decorations up?”

“We have the candles in the windows, those look nice don’t they?” I replied.

“Yeah but we need lights on the trees. And an inflatable. I want to give people something nice to look at when they go by. You know –  for Christmas.”

His pleading tone was so innocent, so sincere. The poor boy only wanted to spread the Christmas joy and I was letting him down. The truth was, most years at this house I’d strung lights on the two pine trees that grow on both sides of our front door and plugged a small white light tree set in front of the walkway. I’d had intentions of continuing that arrangement, but somehow the days had slipped away and here we were, nearly a week before Christmas and it wasn’t done. It was so cold, I argued. And it had been raining last weekend. But now, I was apparently suppressing the joy of Christmas, so I suppose this Saturday morning I’ll try to brave the elements and put the lights up outside too, if I can get them to work.

P.S. – I guess the saying “Good things come to those who wait” doesn’t apply to Christmas decorations. After untangling and plugging in all the seven different light strings from my decorations bin, we discovered that none of them worked. At least completely – some of the strings worked halfway and then stopped, which really wouldn’t provide the desired effect on the trees. Home Depot and Wegmans were picked bare, so there will be no outside lights at our house this year. But I think that the boys will survive. A big snowstorm is coming this afternoon which if I’m lucky will completely distract them from their lights request. Somehow lights aglow is not quite as crucial if you’ve got snow.

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