Monday, December 11, 2006

Daddy's Big surprise!

Daddy’s big surprise

Last Monday we were feeling rather festive around here, and knowing hubby was to fly west the very next morning at an early hour, the children and I decided on a plan to surprise their Daddy by the dinner hour at day's end.

Our advent calendar was up, figures ready to place on it each day and our older son surprised the little ones with their usual paper chain hanging from the ceiling a few days before. (We were greatly disappointed to find our Jesse tree was missing, though we recovered a few pieces so far, not all though.) However, rather than wait a few more days or weeks, the troupes gathered to form a plan. Daddy’s surprise would be a fully lite and decorated home, creating an ambiance of the sacred, and festive enough to enjoy before he flew off for the week.

Our new sign to remind us to keep the "Faith".

Our older son worked in earnest, pacing back and forth into the garage in search of all the Christmas Rubbermaid bins stacked along one wall, but obstacles were the first challenge to remove for obtaining them to haul into the house. Bin after bin was slowly within reach, and when his feat was accomplished, they sat all in a row along the hardwood floor in the dining room for our next step. Not being one to admit defeat, this same son briskly departed once more to fetch the Christmas tree box. Yes, for several years now, we have enjoyed the use of a phony tree enabling setting it up early without the worry of becoming all dried up, shedding an incredible abundance (mess!) of its needles all about or becoming a fire hazard with the lights continually shining upon us, as we keep our home in a festive mood until the proper day of Epiphany (Jan.6th), the Three Kings feast day.


Our family members with allergies have been thankful for the fake tree; however all agree we miss the fresh scent filling the air of our home. This year however, we decided to enhance our home’s atmosphere by providing the lingering scents of trees, or Christmas by using our essential oil diffuser. I had new scents just arrive, those of pine, balsam fir, a spicy Christmas scent with cinnamon, and a citrus blend making everyone happy and keeping them all healthy from allergen producing coughs and difficulty breathing with this as our alternative option to keeping an outdoor scent in the home. This works well for us….and a great solution to setting a mood, ambiance and balance for allowing a scent without the real tree. As well, I have to admit it’s become hassle free without having to search for an appropriate way to dispose of the live tree when finished with it.

Light untangler patiently working away...

Older daughter worked hard at untangling the Christmas tree lights, found in two different bins. How did those lights get so tangled up and so disorganized? My oh my! Not an easy task, she worked with immense patience replacing bulbs when necessary, and prepared them for our tree decorating.

Colorful lights for daddy to come home to.

Younger daughter and younger son found their hat stock in the “tickle trunk”, donning Santa hats, elf hats and other assorted festive wear throughout the day, and at one time decided they were elves and needed to build things for other children as gifts. However, they were up for the goal of Daddy’s big surprise, sorting the various nativity scenes, setting up the crèches around the house (we have five sets), decorating four mini green trees, and helping mommy to get the lights up on the fireplace.

Meanwhile the adrenaline was building with the older son watching fluffy snow flakes drifting down upon him, as he sorted the brand new white outdoor lights. Before moving to the east, we knew this house wasn’t going to be the type of home to hoist up many lines of lighting, so we actually gave them away to the church, knowing more than likely we’d never use them here. Besides, who had a ladder tall enough, or rather who was brave enough to climb the height required just to hold onto the eaves troughs for such a task? Yikes! So, this year I purchased a few strands of white lighting (we just can't have none at all!), good all year round if need be, and just attempted to have a little extra light outdoors.

Our son quickly emptied the boxes and began to wrap the back deck with two of those strands and setting up the extension cord for easy lighting. Next he moved to the front yard, wrapping one strand around each bushy tree on either side of the front porch, with extension cords ready there. We sure miss our outdoor plug for the purpose of being able to switch on the lights from inside within the comfort of the warmth of the house.

The tree was next, and hubby had decided, to the children’s great surprise, that he’d prefer it placed in the front parlor/library, rather than the great room/family room. Actually, I must admit now that the tree is there, I love his choice! With the many lights our older daughter placed on it, and in the evening when the lights are twinkling in the window, the light is enhanced with the reflection in the window as well as the lights on the outdoor tree in sight. I just love it! Then, when we sit in the family room at the back of the house, when the lights on the fireplace are twinkling and the outdoor lights all around the back deck are on as well, it’s difficult to decide which room to sit in! Add the lights in the kitchen window from Ikea, the candles lit filling the air with their cranberry or wassail smells, and we were getting excited about hubby’s return home later that day.

The Christmas tree was decorated with all new ornaments and ribbon, new to use this year in colors of gold and red. Various other décor assortments were displayed, mostly those featuring the real reason for the season, or things filled with symbolism for our family. The winter décor was already out and the snowmen were smiling on us with each movement around the house.

Our home was being graced all throughout our day with Christmas music, beautiful scents, busy bees moving about and filling our home with festive splendor. The smaller children were delegated the responsibility to find a secret hiding place for all the little baby Jesus figures from our crèches, until the day he is to be placed most lovingly into our mangers with reverence and thanksgiving on Christmas morning. Much sentiment is upon us this year living in a new home, and not knowing where life may lead us next Christmas, therefore, we worked in harmony and when at last we were thrilled with the results, it was almost overwhelming to note the clean up ahead, repacking the bins for replacement back into the recesses of the garage. Whew!

Even the dining room table was awaiting hubby's return...

All was complete, with dinner awaiting hubby’s arrival, children at the windows watching out for his vehicle to arrive home. When he drove into the driveway, all the lighting was already switched on, brightening up both the outdoor and indoor décor. Two children ran outside to greet and usher him indoors. It wasn’t difficult to note hubby’s huge smile on his face, delighted with his special surprise we all worked hard on all day. Although he wasn’t able to participate fully with all of use for the first time in a long time, we knew the time crunch he had would make this a great surprise! We sat in the parlor together before dinner chatting about our day, ate dinner and enjoyed the rest of the evening altogether around children’s activities.

Jesus is the reason for the season....

In my last post I placed a slide show within it, where you can see many of the winter and Christmas decor in our home. Enjoy!