This is one of the times of year where I indulge my short attention span. Decorating for Christmas leads me to see things around the house that need doing, and when I see something, I tend to drop everything and want to take care of it.
I was doing three things at once this morning -- getting the kids' backpacks and lunchboxes ready, starting a load of laundry, preparing for my own departure -- when I noticed the stockings folded on top of the mantel. Immediately I felt compelled to take care of that incomplete task. I dropped what I was doing and dedicated myself to hanging up the stockings.
Now, last year I hit upon a solution for the bedeviling Murray problem of ginormous, groaning stockings. Noel's family gets really into stockings. Our handknit personalized and sequined stockings are big. Really big. And the tradition is to stuff them to the brim and beyond. No stocking holder, no matter how heavy, can stand up to these stockings. Believe me, over the years I've tried them all, convinced that I just hadn't hit upon the heaviest-duty options. Nope. For stockings like these, you have to use some ingenuity.
My solution last year was Command adhesive large hooks. I mounted them to the top of the mantel; the hook curves back toward the wall, creating security for the integrated hanging loops on the giant stockings. It worked perfectly. Because the hooks were horizontal rather than vertical, and because they were Command-adhesive stuck to the mantel itself, there was no danger of them being pulled down and off. Best of all, when the stockings came down, the hooks unsnapped from their bases, which remained flat on top of the mantel unseen while the hooks were put away until next year.
Well, that was the plan, anyway. When I pulled the stockings down from the top of the mantel to put them up this morning, I had to figure out what I had done with those hooks. I had a vague idea that I'd stuck them in the junk drawer, so that was the first place I looked. No hooks. Maybe I put them in the basket on top of the mantel. Nope. How about in one of the Christmas storage tubs we had unpacked three weeks ago? I rooted through the tissue paper and bubble wrap. Nothing.
Now I was getting peeved. Was my perfect solution -- intended to last year after year, forever putting to an end the constant struggle to get the stockings hung with care -- going to be undone by my inability to find the crucial parts? What the heck had I done with them? I was mad at myself and irritated that this little task that I had thought I could accomplish this morning was going to defeat me.
And then I decided to check inside the stockings themselves. Yes. I was that clever last year -- so clever I just about outsmarted myself. I had tucked each hook inside the corresponding stocking before folding them up and putting them away. Being plastic and relatively small, they hadn't made a significant lump or given the stockings any heft, so I hadn't noticed them until I went looking.
When I found them, I felt like I had solved a major mystery. My growing frustration turned instantly to triumph. I snapped the hooks onto their bases and hung the stockings in a flash. Task done, problem solved, but more importantly, plan from 2009 me validated.