I can’t believe it’s already time to decorate for Christmas, but it is.

It’s time to hang the holly and deck the halls and if you just so happen to have an elf, it’s time to put the little guy on a shelf.

Back in the day, I went all out. I hung the outside lights, scattered angel dust about and tinseled up darn near every nook and cranny. And when the first of the new year rolled around, I cursed my pre-Christmas self and silently wondered if I had lost my freedom-loving mind.

As an empty nester, I’ve scaled back quite a bit. These days, I garland up the mantel and decorate the railing and limit myself on decked-out trees.

The family room tree met its demise several years ago when the Nebraska Cornhuskers lost to Texas in overtime. We had a gathering of young men viewing the game at the time and they feigned ignorance when attempting to explain what happened.

Why, one of them was simply standing by the tree when the opposing team’s ball went right through the uprights with less than a second remaining on the clock. Then all of a sudden the tree was leaning and slumping its head right along with the other fans in the room.

“Nonsense,” my Pat, Mr. Fixer Upper himself, responded when I suggested that we finally break down and buy a new tree. “We can fix it.”

Pat has the tools and the talent and could have completely reconstructed the old Christmas tree and made it better than new if it weren’t for one thing — he didn’t want to.

While the tree made it though the rest of the season looking sad, it did make it through that year and for seasons to follow until Christmas of 2016 when I finally demanded that we put the tree to rest and get a new one.

Poor Pat, he griped all the way to the store, approached the Christmas section like a kid going to clean the john and darn near passed out when he saw the prices.

Alas, he survived it and while he’s still reeling from the sticker shock of the tree, it makes me smile every time we put it up.

The room where the tree resides during the Christmas has 10-foot ceilings so I felt the tree needed to fill it.

What I didn’t know at the time was that the sucker was heavy. The reason I didn’t know was that our four sons were home at the time and all I had to do to get the tree assembled was to say, “Hey! Let’s put up the tree!”

“Who’s putting up the tree this time?” Pat inquired just last year and his voice rang out with a cavernous echo.

We both looked around and it was just he and I and our dog Sadie, who I’m sure at the time was quite happy that she didn’t have opposable thumbs.

When I mentioned to Pat last Sunday that it was time to tackle the tedious task again, he didn’t exactly answer with a “fa-la-la-la-la-la.” But he finally agreed.

We hauled all the sections of that sucker up the stairs and then stood and looked at all of its boxes with trepidation. Assembling it was the last thing Pat wanted to do with his weekend, but he did it.

There it stood, 10 feet high, and we looked at it for only a moment before my Pat said one of the most beautiful things he’s ever said to me, “Do you want me to help you decorate it?”

Darn near brought tears to my eyes.

It’s tall, it’s beautiful and it screams Christmas. And with the entire family hanging about, I just hope Nebraska doesn’t lose the football game this weekend.

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