We’re officially in December, which means it really is time to start celebrating the most wonderful time of the year. I love so many things about December. It means we’re about halfway out of the dark of the winter months for one thing and we can start counting down the weeks until summer once again graces us with its presence. It means hours spent in the kitchen slaving over salads turns into baking cookies and lemon and butter bars. Just the other day, my friend and I were talking about our individual Pinterest boards, and she mentioned how her addiction to her board increases as she starts adding Christmas recipes to her food board. I, of course, related to that on a spiritual level since I have an entire board devoted to holiday baking.
There’s a lot to look forward to. I’m counting down the days until I can travel to Houston and see my family and my precious niece. In the meantime, however, I’m quite enjoying being in a house with roommates for the first time in my young adult life. In my enthusiasm I started plotting my additions to my Christmas decorations early this year. In my apartment I simply had a string of lights hung over my hallway arch and a small prelit Christmas tree with no ornaments — just plastic berries. It wasn’t much, but it was a solid start for a new college graduate.
But as I pulled out these familiar Christmas decorations this year, I was sharply reminded that no Christmas is complete until disaster strikes. This took place when I opened my box where my Christmas tree was kept and was greeted by a rather large cockroach.
Screams quickly filled my house and my roommates, friends and I flew into a panic. The screams of terror turned to screams of horror as we realized the entire box and tree itself was crawling with insects.
The dumpster was wheeled over and the tree that I had used for two Christmases, and intended to use for a third, was promptly discarded, bugs and all. And good riddance, too.
A new tree has been purchased, as well as arrangements for storage that hopefully deters bugs. I’ve tried to get back into the holiday spirit too, and usually a quick trip around local neighborhoods and seeing Christmas lights does the trick for me.
I soon realized yet another pitfall of the season when I tried to employ this strategy. In my fondest childhood memories, I don’t recall my parents swerving around cars haphazardly parked in the street during this time of year. I don’t know if this is a blunder in my memory, or if there has been shortage of driveways and garages in the past 20 years. Either way, I feel safe to only glance at the surrounding houses while I’m driving through my neighborhood for a split second before I’m required to focus on what’s in front of me and crank the wheel to avoid a car parked in the street.
I’ve never thought of Christmas decorations as a traffic hazard, but I can completely see this becoming a serious issue. I want nothing more than to crane my neck and see the beauty of the surrounding houses, and instead I come face to face with the bumper of a Nissan.
After a perilous journey where these realizations were made, I then returned home. And I saw the twinkling lights of my colorful tree that is not infested by bugs and the simple stream of lights hanging over the hallway archway — a reminder and testament of my humble beginnings. And then I eat a lemon bar, and realize there’s a reason why they say there’s no place like home for the holidays.
Miranda Wilcox is the managing editor of the Anna-Melissa Tribune, the Prosper Press and the Van Alstyne Leader. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.