It’s the most wonderful time of the year. That time when you realize Christmas has suddenly exploded in your house. One moment you’re trying to recover from the food coma that is Thanksgiving. The next there’s a tree in the living room, a wreath on the door, and a dog trying to figure out what exactly is going on since she doesn’t remember what happened last year. Which is okay, because let’s face it, you don’t either.

Except this year, the explosion is happening in slow motion. And I think I’m okay with that.

Normally, by the end of Friday after Thanksgiving – and at the latest the Sunday that James’ parents start their trek back to Colorado – the tree is all fluffed and decorated and there’s a dog asleep under it. She may not be 100% sure what’s happening, but she does appreciate the new bed to lay on. At least until we start putting presents there.

However, we’ve found ourselves moving a lot slower than usual. Like wondering-if-we’d-have-the-tree-up-by-Christmas kind of slow. Instead of a sprint – with Christmas movies playing in the background and me grousing about getting lights on the tree – decorating has become something of a marathon event.

Personally, I’m chalking that up to having family in for the first time in two years. I think 2020 spoiled us with not being able to do much thanks to the pandemic. But this Thanksgiving found us once again running around a lot, organizing lunches, dinners, and activities, and maybe having a bit too much wine. When Sunday came, lazing around until lunchtime felt like a luxury. Why spoil that with digging out ornaments and trying to string lights on the house?

Instead, we’ve spent the week breaking tasks down over the course of a few days. Move furniture and pull out the tree and tubs full of Christmas the first night. Unpack figurines and disburse them around the house the next. Then the actual tree, and finally last night, the decorations.

I must say this feels much less hectic than the usual process and less stressful just short of having someone do that for us. Which doesn’t sound like a bad idea to me.

And for all of you who are compelled to do more than one tree every year – cheers to you! One – for having enough space. And two – for having the energy and patience to take that on. Our friend in Denver did two full size trees and two smaller trees this year, and I just don’t know how. I’m picturing me with a vodka IV, expending a lot of energy to keep it from getting tangled with the garland, and fighting to keep James from hanging ornaments on it.

However, we are done with our one lone tree, and the holiday is now barreling down on us with all that entails. Cookies are baking. Heads are being scratched over what to get one another. And instead of visions of sugar plums, we’re dreaming of a sunny post-Christmas week in Key West once again before returning to take down the tree.

Except maybe we’ll stretch that out a bit too. I’m thinking March.