Nothing spells Christmas season like standing on a ladder as the wind blows trying to hang lights.
That was my day Friday as my wife and I took advantage of the warm weather to put up our Christmas lights.
Like most days in Nebraska, the wind was blowing, making it a slightly less than perfect day but still nice enough to put up the lights.
Earlier in the day we went with our daughter, Claire, and her husband, Trent, to a tree farm to pick out Christmas trees for our respective homes.
Unlike the romanticized version of finding the perfect tree, It never takes us too long to pick out a tree, and we don’t cut our own. We find the one we like, tell one of the people wandering around the tree farm, pay for it and watch as they tie it to the top of our car.
Then we drive home, battle to get it to stand up straight in the tree stand, water it, and eventually it gets decorated.
Decorating is one of those things that was more fun as child then as an adult.
It means lugging plastic tubs of decorations upstairs, taking down all the fall decorations my wife has around the house and replacing them with Christmas decorations.
We always have two trees, a real one and an artificial tree. We got smart a few years ago and decided not to take apart the artificial tree. We just cover it and take it downstairs to store. Saves a lot of hassles.
There is still a lot of work to do. Both trees need decorating, and with the kids out of the house, it falls on us — and by us I mean mostly my wife — to decorate the trees.
My wife has a great touch for decorating, and the house always looks great, so I just stay out of the way.
Every year we talk about doing a little less, but then we get in the spirit and do as much if not more than in the past because, after all, it’s Christmas.
I don’t think our kids would ever want us to not decorate as much, and I don’t blame them.
I remember coming home from college after my dad had died and my mom didn’t have a tree and the house was pretty sparse, and it didn't feel like the same home that used to be filled with Christmas decorations.
It wasn’t Mom’s fault, she just didn’t see a need to do as much with all the kids grown and out of the house.
Our kids are living on their own now, but they still come home for Christmas, and as long as they do the house will look like the one they grew up in.
That’s why I ignore my fear of heights, hang on to the ladder and the wind shakes it to hang lights.
That’s why my wife will decorate the house like she has since we were married.
That’s why the season seems so special for everyone. It’s all the work we put in, not for ourselves, but for the ones we love the most, so we all can make and share memories that last long after the lights have come down and the decorations have been put away.
Patrick Murphy, editor-publisher of the Humphrey Democrat and Newman Grove Reporter in Nebraska, is a former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.