I drove to pick up some pizzas Saturday night. The wonderful Thanksgiving leftovers had basically run out, and I guess I just wasn’t ready to return to the diet I started after I took a food sensitivity test that told me not to eat cow’s milk or peanuts or some other things that basically made up my entire diet.

Nobody answered the phone at my parents’ house, so I was forced to listen to the radio, which was already playing non-stop Christmas carols.

The songs about snow and Santa Claus made me feel pretty cheerful, so I decided to drive around and look at some lights. And then I got an inkling to do something I have never really wanted to do in my life. I decided that I really wished we could decorate the outside of our house. I’m talking Clark Griswold, Joy to the World, decorating. I wanted to see my house covered in lights with a plastic Santa and Reindeer out front, and maybe even a blow-up snowman family.

That feeling has faded a little, mostly because I have no idea how to hang Christmas lights outside.

On Monday I got out our two boxes of Christmas decorations from the laundry room. A few years ago I decided that I was going to use mostly natural things, like dehydrated oranges and tree cuttings, to decorate. I didn’t want to have to store things. But as me and the boy unpacked things, and I started to think about where I wanted to put things this year, I began to really wish that we could load up in the car and hit every single one of the thrift stores in town. The bottom shelf of my hoosier cabinet looked perfect, but I felt in desperate need of more kitschy little things to fill the top two shelves.

Doing all I could do to the hoosier cabinet, we moved on to the boy’s room to decorate “the kids’ tree.”

Little Sister woke up from her nap in time to throw some ornaments around the room and chew on some others. We filled the tree with all of the ornaments we have been given or collected since the boy decided a few years ago he really liked a Christmas tree with remote control lights, and we bought him one for his room. He seemed to love the lights as much as he did the first year we got them, because we all had to go into his room for a light show after dinner. Sister loved it just as much, I think.

It was a fun day decorating for the season while snow flurries fluttered across the yard outside. It was the first cold day of the year and something about it settled the Christmas spirit in my bones just right. We still have so much to do. I think I’ll make my own live wreathes for the windows again this year. And I have to go to my sisters to cut greenery for the mantel and the indoor windows and arrangements.

I need to dehydrate a few more bags of oranges and I want to use pinecones on the tree this year, so there’s those to collect. Of course we still have to find a tree. I considered buying one this year just for a change, but then I looked up the prices and I believe we will just stick to the cedar or pine trees we cut ourselves for the time being.

There’s something about home that just feels different when it’s filled with Christmas. That evergreen smell, cinnamon and cloves boiling on the stove, tree lights twinkling as we countdown the days until Santa Claus comes … yea, there’s just something about it.

I think we all need that Christmas coziness more than ever this year.

Danielle Wallingsford Kirkland is a former Sentinel staff writer and correspondent. She can be reached at danielle.w.kirkland@gmail.com.

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