The season has changed in Angleton this week. I helped take down the Christmas decorations. This might sound like a small afternoon project if you didn’t know the Gardners.
Several small communities inhabit the Gardner Christmas village. Wooden Aggie angels are gathered around an Aggie Christmas tree. Of course the mandatory Nativity scene is in another part of the yard. A few other especially cute figures fill out the other part of the yard. Organization was provided by a few hundred maroon & white lollipops holding huge strings of lights. Appropriate flood lights focused attention on the scenes. The backdrop was framed by the icicle lights strung around the house. All in all a dazzling enough show attract traffic to a normally quiet neighborhood.
You might suspect that taking this down was a big job. It did take a day to get the outside Christmas stuff put away, but that was not the challenge. The frightening task awaited inside the Gardner manse. Through the years, my parents have amassed a significant collection of Christmas…I hesitate searching for the right descriptor here…let’s just call it stuff. Counting the number of Santa Clauses would not be achievable. They range from tiny figurines of an inch or two to a life size…yes life size Mr. & Mrs. Claus. The Santa’s are easily outnumbered by the nutcrackers. I noticed with a bit of anxiety that they received even more as gifts this year. As a faithful family we of course have a creche or two…hundred. China cabinets and shelves are emptied to make room for the various Nativity sets. We have Eskimo & Polynesian, Mexican & Native American, Asian & African, and all sort of other themes made from wood & stone & porcelain & ceramic & glass & plastic & metal & really strange materials that are tough to figure out. I almost forgot the Christmas trees. There was at least one for every room…yes EVERY room…yes even the bathrooms. I stopped counting at 9 trees because I was exhausted. Even the porte-cochere (that was the breezeway when I was a kid) had a tree!
Everything must be disassembled, carefully wrapped and placed into coffins…I mean large plastic containers; then carried to the garage for final disposal…I mean for putting into the garage attic until next year. Most of the coffins…sorry…I mean storage containers came pre-filled with the stuff that had to be relocated to make room for the Christmas stuff. Virtually everything is fragile, precious, and has a story. The risk for a klutzy guy in assisting with this is high. Fortunately I was able to hide all the evidence.
Well it really only took a few days to get everything packed and stored. I was feeling pretty satisfied about the entire operation; when Mom discovered a couple of items that we had missed. My suggestion to throw them away seemed reasonable. If we get rid of the offending items, we don’t have to put them up or take them down next year. My idea was met with an icy stare that meant I was back up in the attic locating the least filled coffin…storage box…carting it down…adding the items and taking them back up into the attic. I am actually starting to get good at this routine after the eighth time.
My favorite moment of the season came when we were watching a TV news program one evening that featured a family that did what the reporter called extreme Christmas decorating. Their light show was set to music and the house was tough to walk through because of the Christmas…stuff. Mom declared after the report was done, “Those folks are just crazy! They went way overboard!” Then, Mom & Dad went to the computer to see exactly how those folks got the soundtrack to sync up with the light show. As I left, Mom shouted, “You will be back to help us get decorated for Valentine’s day…right?”