Saturday, November 28, 2009

Passing On Traditions

Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving!

We live in Seattle. My parents live near Washington D.C. My husband's family live in Japan. Our closest relative is my sister in Detroit. (No, I can't explain why she chose to live in Detroit, either.) So we have no family around for the holidays. We get together with some friends who also have no family close by. It was nice. We had the traditional Thanksgiving dinner of turkey (I'm a vegetarian) and rice noodles and egg rolls. Oh, did I mention the family that hosted is Chinese? Now you know why they have no family around either.

Yesterday we went to a hotel about 90 minutes from here that has an indoor water park. More on that in another post.

This afternoon we came home and unpacked. I started making dinner and my husband took out the outdoor Christmas lights from a box in the garage.

I can remember as a kid watching my father dig out the same box of lights from the previous year. He'd plug them in and only about half would work. This was back in the day with those big bulbs. It was easy to figure out which ones needed to be replaced because only those lights would not work. It wasn't the kind where a whole string of lights would stop working when one measly bulb was out.

Then it would be time to put the lights up outside. My father had one tree in front that he thought the lights should go on. My mother wanted them on the bush. And my older sister wanted them on the house by the front door. It was the same discussion every year...

Of course my father always won that discussion. The lights always went up on the small tree. The job of putting up the lights went to my younger sister and me since we were small enough to climb the small tree.

By the time the bulbs were replaced and the discussion had been resolved, it was always dark outside. And it was usually raining. At least that's how I remember it. So my sister and I would have to climb the small tree in the dark and rain with my family yelling watching and instructing us how to hang the lights. Ahhh... Great memories.

Now it's time to pass the same tradition on to my kids.

I leave the outside lights to my husband. He grew up in Japan and he missed out on so many years of Christmas light fun. I think he has some catching up to do. Now our kids want to help. They are old enough to get yelled at help with the lights. This afternoon my husband pulled out the box and plugged in the lights. A few sections weren't working. With some jiggling and persuasion more of the lights worked. The kids were told to find the lights that weren't lighting up and to replace them with those from another strand that were working. Simple, right? No.

It's almost 4 hours later. My husband has officially given up. The lights have won. He is going out tomorrow to buy new lights. I have learned to stay out of it. I didn't even bother to ask what kind of lights. I have no idea if he's planning to replace all of them or only try to find more bulbs to replace a few more. I'm not even convinced that he is certain what he will do when he goes shopping tomorrow.

It's nice to share the Christmas tradition of putting up the outdoor lights with my husband children. I'm sure it is something special that they will always remember.


amisare waswerebeen said...

Those light strands should be outlawed. I wouldn't blame him if he tosses them all out and buys new ones. I miss the old ones too.

Alix said...

You're lucky. Larry has resigned from the Christmas lights job. We throw a wreath on the door and maybe put a red bulb in our hanging front door lantern. Naturally, I am abandoned with the inside decorating. No wonder I drink wine 24/7.

PS: I saw a gadget advertised a few days ago - a "gun" of some sort - that you can attach to a non-working string of lights and it will find the burnt out bulb and bypass it saving the string. Personally, I think that's too good to be true. I'll be on the lookout for it though and will be one of the suckers that buys it. Oh! and regarding stringing lights in the rain... didn't your parents ever tell you electricity and water don't mix? LOL

sheila said...

Yes, I wonder how many insurance claims happen over a frustration fro untangling lights. lol! I finally pitched our tree a couple yra ago and bought a prelit. Takes 3 minutes to assemble. Life is GREAT! lol

Hubs still does the outside lights. Still takes long and he gets all cranky. Like you said...its tradition. lol.

A couple yrs ago I shopped after Christmas at a KMArt 90% off sale. I bought strands of iclicle lights for TEN CENTS a box! I bought like 30 boxes! We'll have new lights for a long time!

Lynn said...

That sounds like a good plan - just buy new ones. A nice tradition to pass on and not at all stressful! :)

Mama Zen said...

I make a yearly spectacle of myself hanging the outdoor lights. It's not pretty!

Lu's Place said...

we have had seventy degree weather almost all fall. The perfect weather for hanging lights and decorating. Everybody stayed inside and waited for today. It is 30 degrees and spitting snow and very very windy. People just need to wait for North Pole weather i guess.

Michelle said...

Ahhh, the joys of Christmas lights. We do no outdoor lights, just a Boy Scout wreath, for much of that reason. ;) And the indoor lights are my domain because I'm the only one who doesn't put them away tangled. But ohhh the dance of the lights that don't work. My parents had some really fun Christmas lights, and I think a few strands still work, amazingly enough. The image you paint though -- ohhhh my!

Talon said...

I love those sorts of family memories - steeped in the tradition of "fun family moments" that are never quite Hallmark standard, but are actually far more precious. I hope your husband had a fun shopping trip!

Barbequing and outdoor decorations fall on my hubby's much-shorter-than-mine to-do list - lol!

Joyce-Anne said...

My husband put up our lights yesterday. My oldest daughter helped him. Fortunately, it went very smoothly. All the lights were checked prior to being put up, at that point they all worked. Now we have a small section that won't light now. wouldn't you know it!