Dad, I understand it now…

Over the years I have often wondered.  Why do I decorate for Christmas.  Why do I spend money replacing lights indoors and out, why do I go through 3-4 days of hauling out lights and decorations, set up a tree, display Christmas decorations inside and out.  I never had children.  I like to think I would have been as good a father as mine was to myself and my sister.

As I sat in the dark this morning, waiting those few minutes before I have to leave to go to work every day, glancing at the tree standing there in the dark, a twinkle or two off an ornament reflecting the street light from outside.  I remembered when I was little.  Remembered my dad hauling out this huge wooden cut out he had made.  It was two half circles hinged together.  He had drilled a hundred holes in it to attach the old C9 lights.  Once the lights were all screwed in for the year, he would staple yards of fresh Laurel around the whole thing, then lift it up on a ladder and hang it on the front of the house over the window for the living room.

I remember the years when kids would sneak in the yard and steal bulbs from it to smash on the sidewalk.  I remember my dad, every night with the lights came on, going out and replacing the missing bulbs. I remember the year he wired all 100 bulbs in so they could not be easily taken out, the look on his face the next day when he saw kids had broken the lights inside the wire.  He never tossed his hands up and said enough, No more.  He got that wreath out every year.  I remember telling him he didn’t have to put it out for us.  And him saying, its not just for us.  It’s for all those that don’t have someone to decorate for them.

I understand it now dad.  It’s been almost 30 years now since you passed.  And every year I haul everything out.  Put up the tree, put up the outside lights, and share our little bit of holiday spirit with everyone.

Christmas is the time to say “I love you”
Share the joys of laughter and good cheer
Christmas is the time to say “I love you”
And a feeling that will last all through the year

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