Introduction: The Best Christmas Gift Ever

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Ever since my dad moved out six months ago, everyday life has been a lot more hectic, unknown, ever-stressful, and always... kind of sad. My sister and mine's  mom loves having the Christmas tree up each year. We keep it up for many months because it brings peace, happiness, and hope in our lives every time we look at it. Last year we had it up 'till March before we took it down! So, when this time of year rolled around again, we thought fondly of the prospect of putting it up yet another year.

However, the amount of stress surrounding the process of putting up the tree would cause seemed to outweigh the positives - the more the three of us talked about it. We had projects in the front room where the tree usually went, and besides, we were using that place for new projects coming up (as they always did) during the Christmas season, which would make it much more convenient to have the space open. The tree needed to be thoroughly dusted after being up so long (through March). So, all-in-all, with the space filled up with projects, having to clean and sort it all out, getting the tree out and dusting it, assembling it, spreading the branches apart, stringing it with lights, etc, on TOP of dealing with everyday life... you get my point. :) It was decided that putting a tree up this year was just more trouble than we could handle.

But my sister and I kept thinking. Christmas has always been Mom's favorite holiday of the year. She, as the classic "A Christmas Carol" so aptly puts it, "strives to keep Christmas in (her) heart the whole year through", by listening to Christmas music all day long, having several holiday answer tones on her phone (to the surprise of many callers :), and-- having a Christmas tree up many days out of the year to keep the Christmas spirit alive.

So, it seemed sad to us, that this year even with everything going on in our lives, we would not have a tree. What festive tree was going to greet us when we got home from the day's adventures? What beautiful lights were going to help bring us Christmas cheer? Where were our presents going to go?! :D

We decided. Despite the challenges a decision like this would bring, all the hard work we were going to face, Mom would have a tree this year. And with that, we started making a plan.

If YOU need to do a room makeover, follow these steps, and you'll be on your way in no time!

Step 1: Plan

What is it you want accomplished? This is very important, because if you don't have a plan, you might just end up with an empty, dirty room, and the stuff that was there before tossed "hairy scary" in "free space" to be dealt with later. "Later", really? Later is the reason your room is messy in the first place. Take my advice, just don't leave anything for later. Make what needs to be done in that room part of your plan.

For our project, we decided to put the tree up in the master bedroom. Mom had slept under the tree with her brother when she was a child, and she often dreamed of doing so again sometime in the future. We thought it would be a great idea! One problem: the master bedroom was one of the messiest rooms in the house.

So, thus started the top of our list to do:

*Pick up loose stuff of our dad's and put into boxes
*Move boxes into garage
*Pick up all clothes --ones in a corner to be washed, and others folded on boxes-- and put them in the laundry room or the closet
*Make the king-sized bed and shove it over (We needed a little more space to get the tree in the corner)
*Vacuum (Having three, long haired females in the house contributes significantly to the amount of hair on the carpet. We had to put a special nozzle on our vacuum and literally scrub the entire carpet to get it all off.
*Vacuum the tree to get the dust off (This was a huge job, as the tree comes apart in 5 pieces, and it's 8 feet tall)
*Find the Christmas boxes and dig through them for the tree skirt, lights, and angel
*Lay down tree skirt, assemble tree, string on lights

P.S. It helps to make your plan list go in order (as demonstrated above) to lessen confusion and maximize efficiency and make the best use of your time.

Step 2: Do It!

There's a lot to do, but now you have a plan! Get to it, and your room will soon start to take shape.

If you have someone to help you (like I had my sister), it will go all the much faster. Share your to-do list with them, and together you can knock out a task!

Step 3: Finishing Touches

What's your vision for the room? Having a reason to keep the room clean will help you long-term. My family has kept it clean to this point, and it has become another reason we enjoy visiting it frequently.  Add those things you want to the room, enjoy the newly-made, well-done space.

My sister and I waited to put the angel on the top of the tree until our mom got home from work that night. The anticipation grew as we led her back into that room, which she fully expected to be dirty and messy, and had no idea what we were going to show her. When she turned the corner to the bedroom, she couldn't believe her eyes! Her beautiful Christmas tree was there, right at the head of her bed. She was so happy and excited she could barely contain herself. She gave us both big hugs, and told us that while she was at work, she kept thinking how nice it would be to have a tree this year, but told herself that it just couldn't happen this year. How joyful we were to make her holiday wish come true!

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