I was at a friend's place the other day, helping to cart out the Christmas decorations, and moving the day to day nicknacks downstairs. It took quite a while.
There were boxes of stockings and garland and lights. There were boxes of ornaments and snowmen and stars. There were boxes with 3 foot tall dolls. And topiaries (little fake trees shaped all cool).
Now you have to keep in mind, this was the extent of my help. I was not allowed to decorate, because I wouldn't do it "right"...a fact fully explained to me before I wasted any effort.
So I sat and watched her put things where they go.
You have to keep in mind, her house is very small, and she's artsy, so it's full of nicknacks and clutter. All in all, a very homey place.
And here she was, placing what seemed like thousands of little snowmen and decorations all over her house.
And every once in a while she'd stop....say "No, now I remember" and move a couple snowmen, or put a hat on a cup, or change the places of a couple things.
I couldn't help but think to myself "If women wanted to know what men love best about them, this is it right here".
I mean, here she was with thousands of little things to put out in her cluttered house, and SHE KNEW WHERE EVERYTHING WENT! More to the point, she had a place for everything, and actually cared where it went.
So it could be the same as last year.
Because it's tradition.
As men, we typically eschew things like this as "petty" or "unimportant" or something we put up with cause it makes her happy.
But really, these touches of familiarity, these groundings in tradition, give men a sense of place....of belonging. The expression on her face as she put the things out, as she showed me favourite snowmen, or the candle set she has for a centrepiece, was one of contented happiness as well.
Christmas is a great time of year to appreciate the little things. This year, my friend gave me a few hours to feel like part of a family again, and for that I'm grateful.