When our daughter was young we had to decide what our Christmas traditions were going to be. According to Hubby, French children go to bed on Christmas Eve in an undecorated home and awake the next morning to a house magically transformed by Elves; a tree installed in all its glory overnight and garnished with presents all around.
I agreed that this sounded very special, from a kid's perspective and undertook to make it happen.
My memories of that time include traipsing around the near desolate "Emerald Forest" Xmas tree lot on a dark and rainy Christmas Eve, trying to pick an evergreen that was not shedding its needles or looking as if its branches had bed-head on one side.
Dragging home the chosen Fir, leaving sticky resinous sap in my car for ever more, we smuggled it into the living room with much shushing and giggling. We unwrapped tree ornaments, untwisted tinsel and untangled skeins of tiny colored lights. The candy canes were hung on the branches, (new ones as last years canes had become ant-infested), all the while being intermittently pounced on by our young cat, who believed that the tree and all the accoutrements were for her entertainment alone.
One memorable present was a large wooden doll's house that opened to allow access to the rooms inside. There was Lilliputian furniture that could be rearranged and even lights that could be switched on and off.
As 4 a.m. Xmas Eve (Christmas Day morning) came and went and I was still glueing individual shingles on to the roof of our "some assembly required" Doll's House, that had exited it's packing box in a million pieces, with an instruction manual a foot thick, I vowed that next year's Elves would be taking a more leisured approach; spreading out their preparations, allowing our daughter to participate in the process.
I do carry a snapshot in my mind's eye of a blond, blue eyed angel, her whole face shining and expressing an "Ohhh!" of wonderment as she descended the stairs that Christmas morning to survey the magnificent results of some very hard working Christmas Tree Fairies.
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