The Lebeau Family Christmas Tree 2016
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a look at the Lebeau family tree. But this year is going to be very different from previous tours of the tree. That’s because things have changed a lot for the Lebeau family over the last year. Last Christmas was a particularly stressful time for us. We had sold our house and we had just over a week to move out. Just about as soon as the kids had opened their presents, we were putting things in boxes and putting those boxes into storage. I will save that whole story for another day, but the happy ending is that we wound up in a new house which we love. That came with some unexpected changes which effected how we celebrate Christmas.
If you have been reading along through previous years, you know that our Christmas tree was heavily influenced by pop culture. By last year, probably half the ornaments were Disney-related with a strong showing from Star Wars and super heroes. It wasn’t a traditional Christmas tree. Some might even consider it tacky. But it was fun for the kids and Mindy tolerated.
In the old house, Mindy hated putting up a tree. The living room was small and there wasn’t a lot of space for a big tree covered in nick nacks. We even took the drastic step of putting the tree in the basement the last couple of years. At our previous residence, the tree was allowed to go up no sooner than Thanksgiving weekend and had to be down by New Years Day. Since Mindy didn’t like having a tree, I was allowed to do pretty much whatever I wanted. You guys have seen the results.
This year, however, we have a much larger living room complete with a fireplace on which to hang stockings. This completely changed Mindy’s outlook on Christmas and the tree trimming tradition. She insisted on putting up a tree in mid-November which is completely unheard of for her.
In our rush to get out of the old house, we left our tree by the side of the road. It was staring to tilt anyway, so we always planned to purchase a new tree for the new house. Mindy wanted a pre-lit tree because my lights weren’t cutting it. I went to Target and picked up a 6-footer. When I got home, we took the thing out of the box and it was shorter than me. And I’m not close to six feet tall. So that tree went back to Target. When they asked if anything was wrong with it, I told them it was a sad little Charlie Brown tree. I came back with the next size up (7 1/2 feet) and everyone was happy.
When it came to decorations, Mindy had different ideas from our usual ornaments. I could tell it was important to her, so I gave her carte blanche to do the whole Norman Rockwell thing she wanted to do. She asked the kids what they thought of a classic Christmas tree and they did something they almost never do. They took my side. The kids wanted the “fun” tree instead. So we ended up with a compromise. Most of the tree is covered in red and gold bulbs. But Mickey Mouse and Darth Vader are still represented.
As a result, I don’t have as many new ornaments to share with you guys this year as a normally do. Some of the old ornaments are still up, but I didn’t make a lot of new additions. I did pick up a couple of Disney Cruise ornaments in memory of last year’s summer vacation. Mindy loved the cruise, so she approved these souvenirs.
When this one arrived, Mindy was quite amused. “It’s a ship in a bottle,” she said. “Get it?” Yes, I got it. I ordered it. But Mindy was not convinced. “It’s a cruise ship,” she repeated emphasizing the obvious. “And it’s in a bottle.” “Yeah, I noticed.” I’m still making fun of her for that one as you can see.
My only other new ornament was this guy. I actually bought him last year before we moved. This Beetlejuice ornament was intended to be the start of my WTHH tree idea. I was going to see how many ornaments I could find featuring WTHH subjects. This one, obviously, represents Michael Keaton. If I decide to pursue this idea further in the future, I may have to get a little tree for my man cave in the basement.
That left the Itty Bitties which had been on our tree the last couple of years without a home. The kids didn’t mind since they liked playing with them. They ended up hanging out on a display along with our two elves.
Several years back, my mother-in-law bought our first Elf on the Shelf. We named him Buddy after Will Ferrell’s character from the movie, Elf. Creative naming isn’t necessarily our strong suit. The kids loved Buddy a lot. It was not uncommon for them to become upset in the summer because they missed their elf and wanted him back.
I remember putting Buddy somewhere safe for the move. The problem is, I couldn’t remember exactly where that was. As Buddy’s arrival loomed, I decided to bite the bullet and invest in Buddy II. The kids have no idea of course unless they have gone back at some later date to read about their Christmas trees of yore in which case – surprise kids! – we switched elves on you at the new house. We also gave Buddy 2.0 a companion. When the kids couldn’t think of a name they both liked, I suggested Noel and it stuck.
We had a lot of fun as a two-elf household this year. There were more places for them to hide and Noel would play tricks on Buddy from time to time. Here they are making their final appearance of the year scaling the refrigerator.
After years of being something of a Scrooge, Mindy’s heart grew ten sizes in proportion to the size of her new living room. She was fully in the Christmas spirit about a week after Halloween. In addition to the tree, she put up festive decals on all the walls.
From all of us here at the Lebeau household, we want to wish all our readers a happy holiday season.