Deck the halls and all the nooks and crannies

It’s the ninth night before Christmas and my wife is constantly scurrying throughout the house.

There is not a mouse in sight as they know all too well that they will either get stomped in the clatter or sprayed with artificial snow and sprinkled with glitter. My wife is very creative and does an excellent job with decorations and accents at any time of the year, but at Christmas, she goes over the top.

However, this year, I must admit, she is cutting down. For example, we are down to just four Christmas trees. Two inside and two outside, plus wreaths on every door, as well as one man-eating size wreath over the fireplace. We have enough garland on stair rails, china closet tops and accent tables to make our own football field, with enough left over to put in a small putting green.

Now those just describe the Christmas decorations that catch your eye immediately. The real secret is the small to tiny accents that are all over the house like a sniper in camo hiding in plain sight. There are crystal Christmas trees and tiny reindeer hidden in the garland and handmade Christmas figures on the mantel and planter, some with staffs and nightcaps, all with long flowing beards.

On the inside of the front door hangs a set of sleigh bells that look like they weigh about 20 pounds each and when someone opens the door it sounds like you have been trapped inside a church bell tower. Don’t get me wrong, everything is beautiful, but I often feel like a newly hired elf trying to find his way around the North Pole workshop on his first day at work.

Oh! Don’t forget the lights. We have plenty of lights and we have just upgraded to a high-tech Christmas.

This year, my wife has half the lights on remote controls, which I truly appreciate. Instead of trying to coordinate a half a dozen timers, my wife can now simply hit buttons on her remote controls to light displays as desired.

Because we live rurally, I suggested that we put the lights on a motion detector so they only came on when someone approaches the house. I figured that way we could save money on the electric bill. Besides, we live in the woods on a dead end street, so most of the squirrels and deer have already seen the decorations. As you might guess, my wife did not see the humor in my remarks.

I must admit, however, that my wife is truly remarkable. The other day, as she walked thorough our family room, which has so many lights that twice last week planes tried to land thinking it was the Altoona Blair County airport, she pointed to the Christmas tree and said, “there is a light out on the top right hand side of the tree.” It took me 10 minutes to find the light in question and from past experience, I knew that if I touched that one light bulb a whole string might go out. Instead, I just put a piece of green tape on it so it would blend in and hoped she didn’t catch me.

In addition to the regular electric-controlled lights on remotes, she also installed numerous battery-operated lights on wreaths and garlands. They have built-in timers and controls so you can select numerous lighting modes. She has done an excellent job with these lights because I swear that just as the suns dips over the mountain behind our house, all the wreaths twinkle their way on.

I don’t want to say we have a lot of those candles, but just in case you have been shopping for them and have found them in short supply, I think I know where they all went. After our house was decorated in every nook and cranny and even in crannies I didn’t know I had, my wife filled in the “vacant” spots with battery-operated candles. I must admit these things are beautiful, but they remind me a lot of the machine guns Sylvester Stallone always seems to find at the end of one of his Rambo movies, the ones where there is a closeup of the floor with empty shells falling in large piles. Those piles of falling shells look a lot like the pile of used batteries in my office as I try to keep all the candles lit and twinkling.

From our home to yours this holiday season, my wife, Sandy, and I wish you all a truly Merry and Blessed Christmas.

John Kasun writes from his home in Duncansville, where he can be found wearing an elf hat holding a plate of Christmas cookies, knee deep in candle batteries.