Frank and the Fabulous Christmas Decorating Party

November 30, 2008

My buddy Frank really knows how to do up his house for Christmas.

Yep. It’s that time of year again.

You know what I mean. The holiday season, that time that begins to stir around Halloween and finally winds up holding its head and groaning on New Year’s Day. A time dedicated to putting up assorted decorations and eating tons of things that are bad for us.

This is different from the rest of the year only in that for the other 10 months we don’t put up decorations, for the most part, and go straight to eating things that are bad for us.

Last year, I had my first Christmas tree in nearly 30 years. My last one was in a rented mobile home in north Georgia in 1978. After that I figured that being a Grinch, it was sort of hypocritical to put up a tree.

Besides, a Christmas tree is a lot of work. I avoid work whenever possible, especially work that engenders more work later, i.e., un-decorating the tree and putting everything away.

Which brings me to my buddy Frank.

He’s an expansive, comfortable fellow who got lucky and managed to retire early and devote himself to doing good things. He’s not one for making a big fuss about anything, so I was a little surprised when he rang me up one day some years back.

“I’m having a Christmas tree-decorating party Friday. I figured we’d all have something to eat, decorate the tree, then have a few beers,” he said. “You coming?”

I had never figured Frank for the Ho-Ho Santy Claus type. (We both grew up in the Deep South, so we talk funny.) I definitely wasn’t the Santy Claus type but then, having no particular objection to food OR beer, and figuring two out of three wasn’t bad, I said I’d be there.

Did I mention that Frank was sort of a gourmet cook by way of avocation? No? Well….

There was standing rib roast, bread, ‘taters, and all sorts of auxiliary stuff, even some vegetables so the women wouldn’t gripe.

About eight of us showed up for the party, and there was still gracious plenty for us to totally hog out.

Finally, sitting around, wine glasses empty, eyes glazed, rib-bones gnawed clean, the lot of us were pretty well done in, glazed over, stunned by excess.

Frank heaved himself to his feet.

“Well, ya’ll ready to start on the decorations?”

Oh, yeah. We had forgotten that part. It was time to pay the piper, not to mention the chef. Resigned to our friendly duty to Frank, accompanied by assorted groans and gurgles, we all struggled to our feet and followed him into the living room.

Frank opened the door to the living room closet. There, standing on the floor, was the cutest little artificial Christmas tree. It stood no more than three feet tall, and I suspect had come in the box with all its balls, tinsel, and lights already in place.

Frank gingerly picked it up by its uppermost stem, took about three steps and set it on a little table. Then, he grabbed a loop of electrical wire underneath the tree, shook it out, and plugged it into an outlet.

The little lights twinkled into life.

Frank straightened up and looked around the room.

“There. That didn’t take all that long. Anybody ready for a beer?”

And that was that.

Good Ole Frank. He sure knows how to decorate for the holidays.

With that good example in mind, I have tried to give Christmas decoration more of a minimalist slant over the years. But, last year, Sue and I went out into a field and sawed down a very small eastern red cedar and put it up in the library with some lights and such. It was pretty, and gave the room a nice, Norman Rockwell sort of feel. This year, I figure we’ll go out and buy a slightly larger tree. But I’m still a Grinch. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
© 2008 Marsh Creek Media, Gettysburg, Pa.
“Burger to Go” is a product of me and my company, Marsh Creek Media and, as such, I am solely responsible for its content.
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2 Responses to “Frank and the Fabulous Christmas Decorating Party”

  1. valwebb said

    Hmmm. Frank’s approach has a lot to recommend it! Where, exactly, did you live in north Georgia? (I’m a former north Georgia resident, as well. We lived for three years on a high ridge outside Dahlonega, in an old wooden house between a chicken farm and a potato field. Across the hollow was a tiny Primitive Baptist church with a congregation fond of singing. On a still winter Sunday, their voices floated to us across the misty mountain air. I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what heaven must sound like.)

  2. terry said

    I grew up in Athens, Val. But I know what you mean about the Georgia mountain communities.

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