Decorating for Christmas was always a grand affair for me. What started out with a little train village and a few extra lights when our oldest son was a baby, turned into a magical Christmas Wonderland pulled from approximately 20 crates and including ten trees and almost 250 Santas. It was a grand affair until two years ago when we moved to Toad Hall. We planned to be back in Portland for Christmas, so I hadn’t planned to decorate here at all. Then, in Goodwill, I saw a cute little tree (little by our 12-foot tree standards). It was pre-lit and the lights worked, so I bought it and a couple ornaments. Later I picked up a couple Santas to round out the decorations. Other than that, I’ve put myself on a strict rule of No More Christmas Decorations – 20 crates are enough, even if they’re not being fully used any longer. Two years later, I’ve transported a few of our decorations here, but most are still packed away back at our other house. Decorating has been a bit of a chore as I do a little here and a little at our other house, but no grand affairs and certainly nothing magical.
When our children were little one of our favorite Christmas stories was The Polar Express where the little boy who believes in Christmas magic hears the bell Santa left him, even though most around him cannot. We had a similar bell on our tree. Every year, when that bell was pulled out of the ornament box, we shook it to make sure we could all still hear it, that we all still believed in Christmas magic.
Yesterday, I took down the fall décor and pulled out my two measly little boxes of Christmas decorations. I looked around the room and thought, This isn’t adequate! This isn’t Christmas! I told my husband I was going into town and off I went to the thrift stores. Two stops later my trunk was full of lights, garland, runners, Santas, ornaments. I was in Christmas heaven. I was reveling at the joy this little outing had given me when I suddenly realized, I had heard the bell! Our decorations still won’t be as extensive as in the past, but this year Toad Hall will definitely be feeling a bit of Christmas Magic.