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Our bare Christmas tree


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DH and the kids bought a lovely Christmas tree on Saturday.

 

I told the boys to Google "easy way to put lights on tree" and to follow the directions and do so. I warned them that there is a perfect way that involves wrapping the lights around the trunk and each branch, and that I do not expect that.

 

I've been putting the lights on the tree for decades, and I hate that job. I am never going to do it again. We have a real tree because the kids want one. Other than putting on the lights, I have no problem with this. Everyone is adamantly against the idea of buying a pre-lit artificial tree.

 

Putting lights on a tree is not rocket science. The kids have been watching me do it for years. The boys are nearly 18 years old. They know I will stand by and give advice if needed.

 

Not one thing has happened. I remind them every day that the tree is bare.

 

I talked to them six weeks ago about Christmas. I asked them which of our traditions they like. The answer was "all of them". I pointed out that I do all the work and that beginning this year, it will be a shared effort.

 

Shared effort? Hah! So far, no one has participated in the work of getting ready for Christmas, except for the dog. I guess I should be thankful that the kids aren't opening parcels for me, tearing up wrapping paper and cardboard boxes, attempting to eat the tree, taking apart Christmas decorations, and getting sick from eating a dozen cookies that were cooling on the counter.

 

I upped the ante. I told the boys this morning that no gifts will go under a bare tree. The presents will be saved for their birthday in March. They are viewing this as a chore to be avoided, for sure.

 

We'll see what happens. It would be funny if the tree gets decorated on Christmas Eve. I've been lobbying for that every since DH and I got married, because it is what my family does because my mom is German. Instead, I've had 5 people who insist on buying and decorating the tree early -- this year is the latest we've ever bought a tree, due to scarce $$, which problem was just resolved.

Edited by RoughCollie
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I think waiting until Christmas eve would be nice. It is a tradition in some parts of the world. But, I do understand your frustration. I hate it when the kids all have strong opinions about something and then expect someone else to do it for them. :001_huh:

 

We currently have a Christmas tree that is half decorated too. We thought we'd try going to the slow route to decorating this year, but now I'm not so sure I like it.

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You're sitting around waiting for MALES to decorate your tree? Good luck on that.;)

 

If I left Christmas up to them we wouldn't even have a tree most years. It's not that important to them.

 

We would have a few cookies and gifts bought a few days before Christmas.

 

Keep us posted!

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The lights are very important to them! The boys like colored lights, and DD and I like white lights. Every single year, there is a big discussion about this, even though I long ago solved the problem by alternating years for each.

 

This year, my husband put on two strings -- one colored and one white. They're plugged in separately, so we have white one night, colored the next.

 

Because I hate having both at the same time.

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Have you asked them what their plan is? If they have no plan then I would talk to them and let them know they agreed to do a job and it need to be done.

 

I talked to them this morning. I reiterated how easy it is to put the lights on. Plug in each strand to make sure the lights come on. Start at the top and wind down the tree so that the strand that has to be plugged into the wall will be at the bottom.

 

They hung their heads and said they know they need to do that. They are lazy procrastinators, is the problem. They'd rather eat, sleep, watch tv, or fool around on their computers. I didn't tell them that because I figure they already know it.

 

I told them the tree lighting fairy was not visiting us this year, so they'd better get busy!

 

The best thing I did was take their advice on which router to buy. It turns out there are parental controls and I can turn off internet access on all of their computers and internet-enabled devices. This approach works well as a kick in the behind.

 

I haven't decided whether to just wait them out, or to do that. Frankly, I want to take some pictures of Aidan (the dog) in front of the tree ... and it has to be decorated for that. Otherwise, I don't have a horse in the race -- the kids and DH care about the tree being decorated a lot more than I do. It is time for them to put their money where their mouths are.

 

Note that if my kids were young, it would be a different story. Making a magical Christmas was fun, exciting, fulfilling, etc., back then. Their childlike wonder is no more; I'll have to wait for grandchildren.

Edited by RoughCollie
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This year, my husband put on two strings -- one colored and one white. They're plugged in separately, so we have white one night, colored the next.

 

Because I hate having both at the same time.

 

One year, we didn't have enough colored lights that worked, and the kids were arguing so much about the lights that I put colored ones on the top half of the tree and white ones on the bottom.

 

I hated that, but it didn't bother anyone else.

 

I wish my husband would put the lights on the tree. I think it is a man's job, along with mowing the lawn, household repairs, and lawn care. I've been doing these jobs all my married life, and I'm tired of it.

Edited by RoughCollie
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One year, we didn't have enough colored lights that worked, and the kids were arguing so much about the lights that I put colored ones on the top half of the tree and white ones on the bottom.

 

I hated that, but it didn't bother anyone else.

 

I wish my husband would put the lights on the tree. I think it is a man's job.

 

One year I had to undecorate the whole tree and remove all the light strings and redecorate due to a toddler removing the bulbs and popping them into his mouth. :glare:

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I like the idea of starting a new Christmas tradition, decorate the tree the night Christmas eve! I'd make some cookies and hot chocolate, haul the stuff up to the tree, and proceed to allow them to put the lights up. Everyone's attendance is mandatory, no games or internet allowed/all phones left in a basket turned off. I would allow myself to be baking the cookies during the light process because I sure wouldn't want to be standing there while they did it. I might get bossy and tell them how to do it the right way!:D

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Any chance you could bribe them? Maybe something like, "While you boys put the lights on the Christmas Tree I will make you a delicious so and so." Not sure how that goes in your house...sometimes I have success with it, sometimes not so much.

 

Good luck!

 

Nope. Bribes don't work. Offering them begins a long, boring (to me) conversation about whether bribes are ethical or moral. Somehow, with my boys, every little thing turns into what they call "a philosophical discussion" and I call an argument.

 

I tune them out; they don't notice because they are too busy arguing "logically" and pointing out all fallacies.

Edited by RoughCollie
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I like the idea of starting a new Christmas tradition, decorate the tree the night Christmas eve! I'd make some cookies and hot chocolate, haul the stuff up to the tree, and proceed to allow them to put the lights up. Everyone's attendance is mandatory, no games or internet allowed/all phones left in a basket turned off. I would allow myself to be baking the cookies during the light process because I sure wouldn't want to be standing there while they did it. I might get bossy and tell them how to do it the right way!:D

 

This is what we have always done after I put the lights on the tree! Cookies, cocoa, music, tree decorating.

 

Plus, they have all Always been adamantly against waiting past December 10th to put up the tree. The kids have been decorating the tree since they were 1.75 years old, and they like doing it. I always praise their work. This is a family tree, not a work of art.

 

This problem boils down to the sad fact that no one wants to do what they consider to be the work part of getting ready for Christmas. They figure if they hold out long enough, I'll do it.

 

They are wrong.

Edited by RoughCollie
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Since they are the ones who wanted the real tree......if they don't decorate it, this is the last year for a real tree. Buy a prelit fake tree on sale after Christmas. Next year, just set it up and plug it in. I love ours !!! Piney smell comes from the spruce/pine/fir essential oils I use. Nothing to water, no needles to vacuum, no tree to dispose of. It's great ! :D

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One year I had to undecorate the whole tree and remove all the light strings and redecorate due to a toddler removing the bulbs and popping them into his mouth. :glare:

 

One year, my boys discovered that ornaments break and they took all the balls they could reach off the tree and threw them across the room, enjoying the shattering, I suppose.

 

The next year, I bought unbreakable plastic ornaments at Walmart and the thrill was gone.

Edited by RoughCollie
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Since they are the ones who wanted the real tree......if they don't decorate it, this is the last year for a real tree. Buy a prelit fake tree on sale after Christmas. Next year, just set it up and plug it in. I love ours !!! Piney smell comes from the spruce/pine/fir essential oils I use. Nothing to water, no needles to vacuum, no tree to dispose of. It's great ! :D

 

Yes! I am hoping for that opportunity. I thought I'd have to wait until the kids move out, but maybe not.

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Nope. Bribes don't work. Offering them begins a long, boring (to me) conversation about whether bribes are ethical or moral. Somehow, with my boys, every little thing turns into what they call "a philosophical discussion" and I call an argument.

 

I tune them out; they don't notice because they are too busy arguing "logically" and pointing out all fallacies.

 

 

:lol:

Wow. Yes, you have your hands full. At least you have the gift of being able to tune them out.

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:lol:

Wow. Yes, you have your hands full. At least you have the gift of being able to tune them out.

 

If I can't do it, I put in earplugs. No one notices. They are a loud bunch, each focused solely on winning the argument.

 

This logical, philosophical bent of theirs has only been going on for a year. I am going to buy extra heavy duty earplugs ASAP because they've started discussing politics, too. I have a conservative, a liberal, and a middle of the road guy. The combination of that and the first presidential election coming up that they can vote in will be a test of my endurance and patience.

Edited by RoughCollie
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Oh, RC. I so understand! On a good day, I have three teens. I alternate what I call them in my mind on other days. ; ) And then there are equally wonderful times--yesterday the Stove Fairy showed up and cleaned my stovetop, and younger brother, shamed, did the dinner dishes.

 

Several years ago, dh pronounced that we would buy a prelit tree. The one he picked out was gorgeous, not terribly pricey (from a warehouse store), and we haven't looked back since. It has both colored and white lights, and you can alternate them back and forth, as though they are on a cycling dimmer switch. I realize that the purists would be offended, but we haven't looked back. It has been worth every single penny. We've switched our family time to less time handling decorations and more time playing games.

 

Know that you're not alone. Peace to you and yours.

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Tomorrow night is the first night of Hanukah -- the festival of lights -- I would tell them to 'get ready.' They each get to open a gift tomorrow night after the lights are on the tree.

 

And, tell them I said, simply stand around the tree, and put the lights on the branches -- my 11 year olds can do this -- I know that your guys can.

 

(((hugs)))

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That's a good idea, Mariann. Especially since I got home at 8 pm after being gone All Day shopping for Christmas, and not one light is on that tree.

 

DS2 claims he instant messaged DS1 to remind him, and got no response. This message flew all the way from the living room upstairs to DS1's bedroom, so I'm pretty sure it got there.

 

I'm saving the receipts for everything I bought. :D

 

Valerie, either a pre-lit tree is in my immediate future (after Christmas sale) or the boys will discover that putting lights on the tree is not all that bad. That is, if they can do it without spending 2 or 3 hours arguing during the job.

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You're sitting around waiting for MALES to decorate your tree? Good luck on that.;)

 

If I left Christmas up to them we wouldn't even have a tree most years. It's not that important to them.

 

We would have a few cookies and gifts bought a few days before Christmas.

 

Keep us posted!

 

 

:iagree:

 

 

My DH does his Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve.

 

If your kids don't want to decorate the tree just leave it bare.

 

If it matters to YOU that it is decorated then do it yourself KWIM.

 

I could care less about having a tree but my kids want it - this year I put it up and they decorated it all by themselves and they were thrilled with their efforts (and our tree looks like crap) - but hey at least I didn't have to do it :D

 

If they aren't interested then leave it be - it's not a necessary chore. Maybe next year they will be more willing to help if it is something they really want and they realise mom isn't going to do it for them.

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Since they are the ones who wanted the real tree......if they don't decorate it, this is the last year for a real tree. Buy a prelit fake tree on sale after Christmas. Next year, just set it up and plug it in. I love ours !!! Piney smell comes from the spruce/pine/fir essential oils I use. Nothing to water, no needles to vacuum, no tree to dispose of. It's great ! :D

 

:iagree:

 

Plus, DH pulled the boxes out of the still cluttered from moving garage and my 9 and 11 year old kids pulled it out of the box, set it up, and decorated it all by themselves.

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I wouldn't do a thing. I would not ask or tell or wheedle or bribe or anything. You can pleasantly let the life lesson play it'self out: if they want a decorated tree, then they can decorate the tree. If it's not that important, it's not that important.

 

Simple.

 

And if it turns out on Christmas morning that they realize it's important to have a decorated tree, then next year you won't have to worry about it. The lesson will have been learned.

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I wouldn't do a thing. I would not ask or tell or wheedle or bribe or anything. You can pleasantly let the life lesson play it'self out: if they want a decorated tree, then they can decorate the tree. If it's not that important, it's not that important.

 

Simple.

 

And if it turns out on Christmas morning that they realize it's important to have a decorated tree, then next year you won't have to worry about it. The lesson will have been learned.

 

Yup. And you know she's right, Rough Collie. ;)

 

It is hard to be unappreciated. :grouphug:

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I'm curious what your dog has done to help get ready for Christmas. So far, my dog has done nothing! :D

 

Aidan has been very involved in Christmas prep.

 

He has tried to solve the tree problem by eating it. Since I want the boys to put the lights on an intact tree, I surrounded it with Aidan's ex-pen. Once he figured out he wasn't going in it, he pressed against the panels until the tree branches were sticking out the holes in the pen, so he could resume his duty.

 

He taste tested a dozen sugar cookies that were cooling on the counter, and sacrificed his short-term health to do so. It wasn't pretty and the poor boy felt soooo bad.

 

But not bad enough!

 

He tested the integrity of the bonds of the materials used to create factory-made Christmas decorations and found the quality of the work lacking.

 

He stole a box of Christmas cards during one of his visits to the top of the dining room table. Luckily, I happened by in time to lift him off the table before he jumped off and broke a leg.

 

He ate receipts that were laying on my desk, generously leaving behind the unpaid bills so my credit rating would not be impaired.

 

He opened many sealed boxes that had been delivered by the UPS man, including one that was thoroughly taped on every seam by my mother. She tries to win the award for sending me boxes I cannot open, but Aidan is my secret weapon.

 

He tears up entire rolls of wrapping paper -- I think he's the speed champ at this endeavor, too.

 

He is the sole reason that, except for the mantle (which he has not figured out how to reach), only the tree will be decorating my house for Christmas. I can't afford the vet bills!

 

The good news is that he has not pulled the tablecloth off the dining table. I cannot figure out why. It seems like an obvious fun thing for a terrier pup to do. I try not to visualize it, in case it jumps from my head into his.

Edited by RoughCollie
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Aidan has been very involved in Christmas prep.

 

He has tried to solve the tree problem by eating it. Since I want the boys to put the lights on an intact tree, I surrounded it with Aidan's ex-pen. Once he figured out he wasn't going in it, he pressed against the panels until the tree branches were sticking out the holes in the pen, so he could resume his duty.

 

He taste tested a dozen sugar cookies that were cooling on the counter, and sacrificed his short-term health to do so. It wasn't pretty and the poor boy felt soooo bad.

 

But not bad enough!

 

He tested the integrity of the bonds of the materials used to create factory-made Christmas decorations and found the quality of the work lacking.

 

He stole a box of Christmas cards during one of his visits to the top of the dining room table. Luckily, I happened by in time to lift him off the table before he jumped off and broke a leg.

 

He ate receipts that were laying on my desk, generously leaving behind the unpaid bills so my credit rating would not be impaired.

 

He opened many sealed boxes that had been delivered by the UPS man, including one that was thoroughly taped on every seam by my mother. She tries to win the award for sending me boxes I cannot open, but Aidan is my secret weapon.

 

He tears up entire rolls of wrapping paper -- I think he's the speed champ at this endeavor, too.

 

He is the sole reason that, except for the mantle (which he has not figured out how to reach), only the tree will be decorating my house for Christmas. I can't afford the vet bills!

 

The good news is that he has not pulled the tablecloth off the dining table. I cannot figure out why. It seems like an obvious fun thing for a terrier pup to do. I try not to visualize it, in case it jumps from my head into his.

 

 

All this and he's ADORABLE too! Oh my! :lol:

 

Someday, I too will be the mother of four teenage boys, so because of the "someday" part, you are free to disregard my advice. But I have to agree that nagging will probably never, ever, ever work since your teenage boys will someday be men and somehow it is their lot in life to ignore all nagging whatsoever. However, I do think a double whammy of disabling the internets and non-provision of food would get everyone's attention in a Big Ol' Hurry! Or, you could go with that natural consequences thing, but then you'd have to be willing to sacrifice the adorable picture of adorable pup in front of a lighted tree. So nope, I think unplugged, unfed is the way to go. Have fun with that! :D

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I am going to ride this one out and see what happens. I can take a picture of Aidan in front of the bare tree to commemorate this Christmas, if need be. Maybe I'll drape a string of lights around him! I've seen that done in a few dog pictures, and they looked cute.

 

Today I am going to wrap presents. This should be interesting. I hope my little sweetie wheatie doesn't have to be crated. His repertoire of Very Loud Noises includes barking, whining, moaning, and howling. So far, it does not sound musical, even when he mixes it up.

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Aidan has been very involved in Christmas prep.

 

He has tried to solve the tree problem by eating it. Since I want the boys to put the lights on an intact tree, I surrounded it with Aidan's ex-pen. Once he figured out he wasn't going in it, he pressed against the panels until the tree branches were sticking out the holes in the pen, so he could resume his duty.

 

He taste tested a dozen sugar cookies that were cooling on the counter, and sacrificed his short-term health to do so. It wasn't pretty and the poor boy felt soooo bad.

 

But not bad enough!

 

He tested the integrity of the bonds of the materials used to create factory-made Christmas decorations and found the quality of the work lacking.

 

He stole a box of Christmas cards during one of his visits to the top of the dining room table. Luckily, I happened by in time to lift him off the table before he jumped off and broke a leg.

 

He ate receipts that were laying on my desk, generously leaving behind the unpaid bills so my credit rating would not be impaired.

 

He opened many sealed boxes that had been delivered by the UPS man, including one that was thoroughly taped on every seam by my mother. She tries to win the award for sending me boxes I cannot open, but Aidan is my secret weapon.

 

He tears up entire rolls of wrapping paper -- I think he's the speed champ at this endeavor, too.

 

He is the sole reason that, except for the mantle (which he has not figured out how to reach), only the tree will be decorating my house for Christmas. I can't afford the vet bills!

 

The good news is that he has not pulled the tablecloth off the dining table. I cannot figure out why. It seems like an obvious fun thing for a terrier pup to do. I try not to visualize it, in case it jumps from my head into his.

 

What a great helper! This had me :lol:

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I am going to ride this one out and see what happens. I can take a picture of Aidan in front of the bare tree to commemorate this Christmas, if need be. Maybe I'll drape a string of lights around him! I've seen that done in a few dog pictures, and they looked cute.

 

Today I am going to wrap presents. This should be interesting. I hope my little sweetie wheatie doesn't have to be crated. His repertoire of Very Loud Noises includes barking, whining, moaning, and howling. So far, it does not sound musical, even when he mixes it up.

 

I actually think that a picture of him in front of a bare tree would be a great story of the year the tree didn't get decorated.:lol:

 

I think lights, or a Santa Hat, or shredded wrapping paper around him could all be very cute. He's a cute dog. You can't go wrong.

 

ETA: And please do keep us updated. I've been following this story, because I think it's hysterical. Who will win the decorating war? DON'T CAVE!!!!!

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You know, I'm so glad that my eldest is not in my AmLit class with youngest. He would have those philosophical discussions with a third (non-sibling) kid in the class, and we'd never learn a blessed thing.

 

My heart goes out to ya'! (Can you tell them that when it goes over 15 minutes they have to take turns putting a buck in the Mike's Fund for Mom can?)

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Since they are the ones who wanted the real tree......if they don't decorate it, this is the last year for a real tree. Buy a prelit fake tree on sale after Christmas. Next year, just set it up and plug it in. I love ours !!! Piney smell comes from the spruce/pine/fir essential oils I use. Nothing to water, no needles to vacuum, no tree to dispose of. It's great ! :D

 

:iagree:

 

I grew up with fake trees but dh always insisted he would have a real tree until he was too old to go out and get one. I prefer the fake. No hassle with watering, no finding pine needles everywhere for months. Well, last year the tree bothered my allergies a LOT and ds started getting very itchy eyes that led to pink eye. That medicine was over $100 for a tiny little bottle and then dh also got pink eye. I told dh that I was pretty sure the tree was bothering ds's allergies just like mine. So, this year we have a pre-lit fake tree. :D Other than mentioning to everyone that this is the first time he's had a fake tree in 56 Christmas's, dh even has to admit it looks pretty good. When my parents came over, they thought it was real.

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Since they are the ones who wanted the real tree......if they don't decorate it, this is the last year for a real tree. Buy a prelit fake tree on sale after Christmas. Next year, just set it up and plug it in. I love ours !!! Piney smell comes from the spruce/pine/fir essential oils I use. Nothing to water, no needles to vacuum, no tree to dispose of. It's great ! :D

 

This is exactly what I was thinking. Pre-lit Christmas trees are one of my favorite inventions ever! I've had mine for 10 years. When the lights finally do go out, I'm going to donate it and buy a new one! I seriously hate putting lights on the tree.

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It must be contagious because my kids have the same problem. We have had an artifical tree our entire marriage. The last one died last year. I was going to skip decorating this year because we won't even be here for Christmas. We are leaving in two days and won't be back until close to the new year.

 

My kids acted like I had outlawed Christmas entirely. They had to have a tree because it is not Christmas without a tree. The house has to be decorated. For the last few years, I set up the tree and then they decorated it and the rest of the house. So I agreed that we would buy the tree but they had to do the lights, decorate the tree and the rest of the house.

 

I had a naked tree in my dining room losing needles at an alarming pace for over a week. Finally they shook the tree out and hung the lights. Another week goes by with no decorations so I finally ask them if they intend to put the rest of the decorations on the tree. Oh yes, and then they do about half of them. I wait awhile longer and ask if they intend to put the rest on there. "No", they answer, "You have to do the rest." They started in on some cockamamie excuse as to how blah, bah, blah. I didn't really catch the rest but needless to say I still have half a box with decorations sitting in my dining room floor and now we can't get to the tree due to all the presents.

 

I haven't even wrapped any presents yet much less put them under the tree. I counted this morning and there are 40 presents. I have four children here and only two of them have jobs. My hubby may have contributed a few. We have to lug these presents to GA and I am beginning to wonder how we are going to get them all there. We also have luggage, six people, two dogs and various other things that need to go.

 

I brought all the boxes of decorations in from the garage and so far they hung two wreathes but not one of the front door. The put up the advent tree and a decoration that counts down to Christmas and that's it. My living room has boxes all over it and the refuge from wrapping 40 presents, not to mention all the boxes and bags the items came in. My house is a diaster area, looks like a tornado went through here and I have company coming the day after we get home. :glare:

 

Finally, we do not have all of the clothes we need for the family pictures, I have bought stocking stuffers and I have the stomach bug that is going around. I honestly need a working crew this year. I have to finish my on-line shopping with express shipping today because I am not going to another store. I need a shower and I have a chiro appt today. Tomorrow we have the closing for our refiance, we have to pick up the rental car and I have a hair trim. We are supposed to leave on Friday. Sometime between now and then I need to clean the house, finish the shopping, wrap the presents and load the car. No problem. :glare:

 

Wow, sorry. I guess I needed to get all of that of my chest.

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You Go, RoughCollie! Sounds like you have a great plan!

 

I gave up decorating about 5 years ago because it is a hassle. DD17 does it all because she wants to. I suspect next year when she is gone, DD10 will take it over. My boys and DH could care less and if it doesn't happen - I'm fine with that.

 

And - OHHHH - I under stand the dog-thing. This morning, our two 11-month old giant wonder pups got all the toothbrushes and the bar soap from the bathroom counter and chewed them up. :ack2: Where was I? I was removing the cat from the top of the Christmas tree.

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:grouphug:

 

FTR--our dog trainer came to our house and thought the baby gate around our tree was awesome. Puppies are like toddlers and it takes time to get them to where they leave things alone. Even longer before it's RELIABLE enough to just leave them be. A special event, like a tree.....well, they would be trustworthy just in time for the tree to come down. Even Astrid (who competes with her dogs) posted a "just in case" remedy for any dog that ate a glass ornament.

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