Anne sat on the steps and peeked through the banister rails.
Daddy was grunting and pulling the tree through the front door. Momma stood near the front window ready with the tree stand.
Momma held the tree while Daddy twisted the screws on the stand. Then he jumped up,
“There, it’s straight and snug.”
Momma went to the closet to bring out the boxes of ornaments and the brown box of lights.
“Ok, peanut. Let’s get this show on the road.”
Anne hopped down off the stairs and ran to the living room.
“I want to put the star on first,” Anne said.
“No, sir. There’s a plan. Now I am going to show you how to decorate a tree.”
Anne sighed lustily. “Ok,” she said.
“First,” said Daddy, “we are going to test all the strings of lights. We plug them in and make sure they all work. Would be a shame to hang lights that don’t work.”
“Oh, Daddy that would be awful. Then the tree would look sad.”
“So, let’s check all these strings, shall we? No way I want a sad tree.”
Daddy handed the strings to Anne, and she patiently plug every string into the socket. When all of the lights had been checked, Daddy began to unwrap the lights from the tightly wrapped newspaper tubes.
“Now we string the lights. Ready?” Daddy asked Anne.
“Yay! Let’s go!”
Anne held the spool of lights while Daddy began to weave the lights in and out of the branches.
“See how I place a row very close to the trunk, and the second row goes closer to the edge of the branches. Now the treat is lit from the inside out.”
“Oooo, Daddy it looks so beautiful.”
“Now it’s your turn, Anne. You do this row, and I’ll hold the lights for you.”
Anne tucked her tongue between her teeth and very carefully arrange the lights on the branches, just as Daddy had shown her.
“How’s this?” Anne looked anxiously at Daddy.
“Good job, Peanut!”
Anne strung the rest of the lights while Daddy watched.
“Ok, Anne now we are ready to plug in the lights, and see how we did. Cross your fingers.”
“Wait, Daddy! Momma come quick! We are going to turn on the tree!”
Momma came in from the kitchen wiping her hands on a dishtowel.
“Ok, I’m ready. Fire away!” Momma said.
Daddy pushed the plug in the socket and the tree glowed from the inside out, just like Daddy had said it would.
Momma switched off the lamps in the room and the tree stood in all of its fragrant glory.
“It’s beautiful,” Anne said.
Daddy walked to the console and lifted the lid on the stereo cabinet. He found a station with Christmas music. Pulling Momma in his arms, he slowly swayed to the music while Anne sat in the rocker and watched the snow fall outside the window, framing the tree in winter splendor.