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Lights… Camera… Action: Staying calm in the face of holiday stress

We do Christmas BIG at our house. And by big, I mean HUGE! We put our decorations up early, inside and out, and we have a lot of traditions, like where we cut our main tree down and when we turn the outside lights on. We begin setting up in the middle of November.

Last year, we had a wild start:

It was a Sunday night, and the next day I was returning to work after maternity leave. My husband thought it would be a great idea to set up one of our fake trees in the living room. When he plugged in the extension cord, a massive spark came out, lighting up the living room and shooting my husband across it.

I panicked and thought for sure we were going to end up in the emergency room. I called the fire department to tell them what happened and they insisted on coming out to check it out and make sure we were safe.

Fire trucks came blaring down our suburban street, merry and bright – I ran out of the house and flagged them down quickly so they could turn off the engines. All the clatter woke up my children, who were, of course, dressed in holiday pajamas. And so began the incessant questions to the firemen: Where is your ax? What is that pocket for? Their eyes twinkled like Christmas lights during the whole adventure.

Prior to decorating, we had popped “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” into the DVD player — so that was playing in the background while all of this was going on. Sometimes, I truly think, our house is like the Griswolds.

As it turns out, everything was fine. They wrapped up my husband’s hand, which had a few burn marks on it, and used a fire camera to make sure there were no flames inside the walls. They told me I did the right thing by calling them, which made me feel better about the whole situation.

We did have a wonderful holiday season last year, despite the wild start. The holidays can be a stressful time, but it’s important to stay calm — no matter what crazy things happen — and remember the true reason for the season.

Do you have any wild holiday decorating stories to share?

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