The way it’s supposed to be

Published 3:05 pm Friday, December 19, 2008

Being a father has completely changed my perspective on how I approach holidays, especially Christmas.

Growing up in a house with just my dad, we didn’t get very festive. We celebrated Christmas like everyone else, but we didn’t hang lights outside. In my latter teenage years, we stopped putting up a Christmas tree.

I had grown accustomed to that and came to enjoy not having to spend Dec. 26 outside taking down Christmas lights or un-decorating and disassembling a plastic tree. The day after Christmas was a day for bowl games and my dad and I got to watch every one of them.

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When Tiffany and I got married, this changed. She’s a Christmas nut.

The day after Thanksgiving is an important day to her. It’s the day she’s able to break the seal on the boxes that have been packed away for nearly 11 months.

When Lizzie was born, those decorations became part of her Christmas experience, too.

She liked to decorate the tree or arrange table decorations around the house. Still, our exterior decorations had always been minimal.

Three years ago, I bought a 7-foot inflatable Santa for the front yard. Lizzie saw it in a hardware store and we had to have it. It’s been a holiday staple in our decoration scheme ever since.

Last weekend, Lizzie and I unboxed our Saint Nick and plugged him up for the first time in almost a year, but something was different this time. Now, at four years old, Lizzie was no longer impressed with our inflated parachute of a Santa Claus.

“We need lights,” she said as she pointed toward most of our neighbors’ homes.

As Lizzie told me of how we needed snowmen, lights and “a circle for the door” (a wreath) I realized again that it’s my job to make her Christmas whatever she wants it to be. That’s why we bought the wind-powered Santa in the first place.

I told her she was right and we jumped in the truck and sped off to the store. We walked into the Christmas department and I told Lizzie to find what she wanted and we would put it up.

About 30 minutes and $100 later we left with a pre-lit wreath, an 8-foot strand of snowman lights and about 200 feet of indoor/outdoor lights.

We worked into the night Sunday to decorate the yard with an eclectic mixture of colored and clear lights and the eight small plastic snowmen.

Our old reliable Santa is still there, now watching over his new holiday support. Nothing really matches but that’s okay. If you ride by a house on Phillips Drive that looks like it was decorated by a 4-year-old, that’s probably us. It looks that way because that’s what Lizzie wanted it to be.

I hope each of your Christmases is what you hope it will be.

Merry Christmas.

Note: Jason Cannon is editor and Publisher of the Demopolis Times.