Over the weekend I felt like we were stuck in a Christmas movie. The kind of movie where the family tried to setup their Christmas tree but kept running into problems. The problems led them to drive around town on a mission to find a tree which led to stress yet finally ended with blessings.
Our Christmas story went something like this…
We originally planned to spend Saturday morning at a local Christmas train exhibit at the mall. Unfortunately, Noah came down with bronchitis and early stages of pneumonia, so since the doctor had him on antibiotics we felt it was best to stay home. The kids asked if we could put up the Christmas tree and decorate the house early. We normally wait until the day after Thanksgiving but we agreed. After all, we just moved into a new home and all the Christmas decorations were sitting in the middle of the garage with easy access.
Our son started bringing the tree into the house one section at a time. He helped me put it together, only to realize it wouldn’t fully light up. It was all connected correctly but part of the top section was out. The tree was also slightly leaning and we called it time to buy a new one. I’ve had this old tree since before Noah was born and now he is over eight years old. It was time.
Tapanga stayed home with the sick one while the rest of us headed off to Hobby Lobby to grab a tree real quick. Real. Quick. We did run into Hobby Lobby real quick, I’ll give us credit for that. I quickly realized they didn’t have the tree I wanted. I remembered the other day we walked through Sears and saw a tree I just loved. Since our current tree had lasted over eight years I figured I should buy the one I loved the most since my goal is for it to last another eight years.
This is where the real adventure begins. We walked into Sears which was right across the street from Hobby Lobby and instantly I saw the tree I wanted. I grabbed the tag and headed to the cashier. She confirmed they had two in stock, so I paid and we drove over to their loading dock. Which is where they informed me they did not have the trees in stock. We parked the car, got back out and went inside for a refund. The salesclerk called another Sears, about 30 minutes away, and confirmed they did have two in stock at their store and had their hands on the trees. So we loaded back into the car and headed to that mall to pick up our tree.
At this point I’m a little tired and not real happy that our quick trip has made a turn to venture around the metroplex to secure a tree but we are happy to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m just excited to put up the flocked Christmas tree and watch the kids decorate it.
While at the mall we took the time to select our angel from the Salvation Army Tree that we wanted to buy for this Christmas. Each year our family loves giving back and buying for those little ones that might not receive much. It’s a true family tradition for us.
Plus I’m a little selfish in the fact that I miss shopping for a little girl of my own. I love cute girl clothes and since my youngest daughter is twelve, I have fun shopping for a toddler again.
Now that we had our tree and our angel selection and the second mall did indeed find one tree we wanted, we headed home.
The new tree was beautiful. It took us more time to take down the old one and put it away than it took us to put up the new one. It was super simple with only three sections and three plugs. We were excited to plug it in and then quickly realized, the middle section didn’t light up.
I just knew it had to be our fault. We must have done something wrong. I had Tapanga go through each section and check the plugs for me again. I did it two more times myself. I pulled out the directions and read them. I came to the conclusion it must be the fuses were out. I changed the fuses on two different plugs. Nothing worked. Andrew went through each individual wire on the entire tree and found the problem. There was an exposed wire, meaning it was never fully finished during manufacturing and the tree would not work. He even tried to find the area where the free flying wires go to see if he could fix it, but he couldn’t. Which probably wouldn’t have been safe anyways.
All of this took well over an hour. At this point I’m not even sure if I want a tree. The whole situation was almost comical. I called Sears which of course they confirmed they only had that one tree in stock. They found another mall which was about 40 minutes away that claimed to have one. So we took the tree back apart, packaged it back up and set off for yet another refund. This time hoping for an even exchange. To prevent myself from being overly upset and having a meltdown we decided to make a joke of it all and go out for hot cocoa.
This time we all loaded in the car to go together as a family. Since Noah was sick he deserved the hot cocoa as much as we did. Plus did I mention it was raining? During this trip out no one got out of the car except Andrew. We pulled up to the loading dock at the third Sears and they did a quick exchange.
Ta-da! It literally took minutes to have our new Christmas tree setup with the lights on. Isn’t it beautiful? Now I can pretend I have a white Christmas in Texas. I hope the family thought all the trouble of an ENTIRE DAY, many miles of driving and lots of hassle was worth this tree.
Noah hung the first ornament. It was a brand new one I just bought him that day while at Hobby Lobby. Since he played his first season of soccer this year I thought it was only appropriate.
Everyone else gathered around to add ornaments and finish up the tree.
Our Saturday felt like a real life Christmas movie. What started as a simple morning turned into an adventure through DFW to find a tree for our living room. It ended with a beautiful tree, a happy family and the blessing of selecting an angel from the Salvation Army to gift this Christmas. During the stress I had to remind myself to be thankful we had the health to drive around town, the gas in our car to deliver us safety and the money to buy a new tree. But most of all I’m thankful for my family to celebrate the birth of Christ with this season.
In 2012 we adopted a family from our local Christian radio station that was in need. The experience was a true blessing to be involved in. We were able to shop for their needs and a few of their wants. The kids and I wrapped up the gifts and took them to their house to open. It was so touching for us to watch the little ones get excited to have presents to open that Christmas, when otherwise they may not.
Photos taken in 2012
Although this year we will not be able to watch the little girl open her Christmas presents or even get the chance to meet her, my kids know the importance of giving back. It helps me teach gratitude. For they know that not all little kids will see several presents under the tree this year.
How do you teach your children to give back and be thankful?