The Christmas season at my house typically starts with the US Thanksgiving. As a citizen and resident of Canada I have always had “Holiday Envy” when it comes to our neighbours to the south. It’s true when it comes to holidays the US really does it well. In Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving in October with one statutory day off. The US has two days off with a four day weekend and their economy buzzes with one of the busiest weeks for travel and shopping.
So I began a silent protest many years ago. I schedule vacation every year for the US Thanksgiving. I sit at home and watch football on Television. I even make a complete turkey dinner. I called it the “Holiday of Me”. It was always my time, the three kids were at school and my wife was at work. With a house constantly in turmoil and a decibel level often approaching that heard standing behind a 747 during take -off, my little personal holiday was always a two day sanctuary in an otherwise crazy world.
But then it happened. Quite surprisingly and certainly not planned, it happened. We had a fourth child. Abby our little 18 month old bundle of “holy crap I am too old for this” totally took over my holiday. The three kids went to school, my wife went to work, football was on TV, turkey was in the oven, and Abby was on the loose. Picture any of those movies about the dad out of his element with the child running wild and yep that was pretty much it. One of my chores on this holiday and yes I hear you, it’s “the Holiday of Me” and yes I have chores - how unfair, is to put up the family Christmas tree. Normally my job is to put it up and the rest of the crew then decorate it but hey I am an overachiever. I went for it. Problem was Abby our little bundle of “this is why my hair is falling out” wasn’t napping. A smarter dad may have started at the top of the tree, a smarter mom wouldn’t have attempted it at all I was later told. For every decoration I put on the tree a game ensued of find Abby our little bundle of “I am not going to survive this day” and find the missing decoration. So two hours and a sprained ankle (long story) later our tree was fully decorated right down to the “Abby reach line”. Standing back and admiring the work it donned on me our family tree looked more like one of those bargain store displays on Boxing Day. The ones with all the bins that look like war torn countries with the product all disorganized the pricing signage hanging sideways and swinging like a door on a broken hinge. It was a disaster.
As I stood by the tree ignoring Abby’s clatter it donned on me just what was the matter. Sorry got a little “Night before Christmas” on you there. Grocery stores are the best at having really nice looking displays. Those retailers with the bins can learn a lesson from them. They are experts at using signage and visual displays and all of those signs take little sign holders and accessories and although I had taken time off work for my “Holiday of Me” my mind kept wandering back to my day job at Ketchum Manufacturing where we sell dozens of different types of accessories that keep signage and display items firmly and securely in place. The accessories help keep their stores neat and their displays polished and professional. Nobody thinks about this type of thing but these little forgotten pieces are what make the presentation work. Nobody thinks about it until they are standing there beside their little bundle of “how can that smell come from that little diaper” and a tree that looks like it was decorated by a toddler and her dad who desperately wanted the “Holiday of Me” to be over. Why can’t they make those incredible little tag accessories for Christmas trees?