My husband really does believe in Santa Claus. Every year Christmas rolled around like clockwork and I, in my desire to take my mother's place as the matriarch of Christmas, ran around in a frenzy, hitting all the pre-Christmas sales to find the dream gift on my children's lists. That's not to say that my kids didn't know why we celebrated this special holiday. The first thing we got out at Christmastime was an advent calendar and a special book called "Santa's Favorite Story." We always adopted a family for Christmas in our Sunday School class and I always included my kids in the shopping so they would realize that even though we couldn't afford extras, we were blessed more than many people. We would pick out an angel from the tree at the mall and drop toys in the "Toys for Tots" bin. That didn't keep them from wanting the newest toy or gadget or whatever the television shouted out as this year's "must-have toy." Christmas morning, the kids would open their gifts and Mark would usually whisper, "What'd we get them?" Silly man. There was no "we" in Christmas at our house. I, alone, brought the magic of Christmas to our house. That's not to say Mark didn't have an assignment. His job was to put the tree in the stand and string those pesky lights. That's usually when I sat down with a hot toddy because I wanted to watch the event from my safe place on the couch. I put in my earplugs, grabbed my book and tried to stay out of the way from cords flying around the room and evil-looking tools hanging off my husband's belt. He saw those as his toys but I knew those could become death objects in a matter of seconds and then the dreaded words came floating across the room - "Babe, I need some help over here." Ha! Help? As in "Are you going to make me hang these lights all by myself?" Well, of course not. He planned that from the moment he hauled up those boxes of lights from the basement. I would then stand close enough to the tree to get more than a few scratches on my arms while he threaded those lights through the branches. Before I knew it, I stood on the 10 foot ladder, reaching into spider webs that I'd never known existed up in the bowels of the ceiling. Mark stood calmly at the base of the now-unfriendly Balsam or Douglas fir and smiled knowingly as he'd comment on how easily those lights went up. He stood back after "he" completed the light-hanging and just smiled, patting himself on the back at a job well-done. Yep, he finished his Christmas preparations and he could now sit back and enjoy all the delicious cookies those little elves baked in the kitchen every night after everyone else went to bed. I would bet the elves he pictured wore short, red skirts with pretty, green low-cut sweaters and sexy, knee-high, red leather boots. Well, you can bet I imagined a different Santa than what he imagined and I would make sure that Santa left him a note in his stocking and that note would not wax poetic, that's for sure.
Of course, about a week after the hanging of the lights, Mark would come in from work and comment on the magically-decorated tree. "The tree looks great. Who did that?" Are you kidding me? Did he think that Santa and the elves lived in a secret place in our house? As far as I knew, only one person decorated that tree and she didn't live at the North Pole. After hanging those lights, Mark disappeared into his man cave, only to sneak into the kitchen occasionally to partake of those delicious Spritz and sugar cookies that the elves delivered overnight. I would hear his footsteps as he took the long way around so as not to catch my attention. Heaven forbid that he would stop and offer to carry the ornament boxes upstairs. He knew that for me to get them out of their hiding place, I would need to put on a suit of armor to avoid getting stabbed or wounded by the various tools and woodworking materials that he stacked in front of the Christmas decor. That's not to say Mark didn't offer to help. After I carried the eight or nine boxes into the living room, he would ask me, "Babe, why didn't you tell me you were getting the Christmas stuff out?" Hello. I believe I walked right by him with box after box as he busied himself with nailing something together to avoid eye contact with me. That way he could play innocent after I completed the decorating. I always enjoyed watching his face as we entertained and someone would comment on my ornament collections. Mark quickly entered the conversation with "Yeah, it's beautiful, isn't it? Don't the lights look great? It took me a couple of days to string those." Well, I feel quite sure that the look on my face silenced him after that comment because next thing I knew, he held a cup of coffee and some more of those elf-baked cookies. And I sat down next to him with a nice, hot toddy in the biggest mug I could find.
Merry Christmas! And to all you little elves out there, thanks for your help.
Way overdue for an update!!!
7 years ago