I never know what to get Derek for Christmas. In years past, I’ve gifted him cologne, clothes, gift certificates and chocolate. We’re way too practical for me to surprise him with a trip or large purchase. Anyway, I’m the worst at surprises and spill the beans the moment I get an idea.
This last Christmas, we were preparing to put our home up for sale. With all our kids turning into giants, we'd outgrown it.
We’d spent weeks and months decluttering, repainting, re-carpeting, rearranging, re-plastering the pool and cleaning up the back patio.
The kitchen cabinets were removed, sanded, primed and painted, the laundry room re-tiled and we were waiting on putting everything back together again. We’d found our dream home and once we finished up with a bit more staging, our current home would be up on the market.
What should I do at Christmas time when the goal was to get as much out of the house as possible? Every room needed to look clean and spacious. I had stopped my furniture restoration business and no longer spent time digging through trash at thrift stores. Everything was gone and all that was left standing were the essentials. In the past, I’d gone all out at Christmas time, but I needed to minimize purchases and get just a few good things. No clutter, no broken throw-away toys and no waste.
I’d recently purchased a laptop and told Derek this was a great Christmas present for me. I didn’t need anything, but what about him? We were trying to save money, but I had to get something to show how much I loved him. That’s when I had an idea. Our wedding photo had been misplaced nearly two years earlier when I’d done some redecorating in our living room. When I found it later, it had water damage. That’s when I had an idea: I’d order a beautiful new wedding photo for Christmas. I went on the Costco website and decided to make our wedding photo a canvas. What size? I wasn’t sure and I had no idea where my tape measure was, so decided on 24x32. That sounded about right. A few weeks later, I received a call it was ready to be picked up. I asked my friend Jann if she’d pick it up next time she was at Costco and I would hide it in the garage until Christmas morning.
A few days, Jann comes walking up my front path with this giant box. She’s a small woman, just 5 ft tall and she was barely able to carry this thing. “Here’s your wedding photo,” she said with a huge grin on her face. What size did I order? This thing was huge! I carried it into the garage and opened it up. Did I really order a larger than life giant wedding picture? It was big and bold, that’s for sure. Um, a bit unorthodox for a wedding photo, but there it was, bought and paid for. It would have to do.
Christmas morning, Derek peered into the giant box. This was the big moment. Would he like it? He pulled out the wedding photo and he and the kids oooohhhed and aaaawwwed over it. Really? I thought it was a bit tacky. Most people’s wedding photo wasn’t the size of a living room television, but there it was. Because they loved it, I decided to take on the same attitude. It would be great.
Because of an unsuspected leak behind our refrigerator, our kitchen floor flooded three days before our home was going up on the market. Until we gutted and replaced our kitchen floor and cabinets, we would not be placing our home for sale. The news was upsetting at first, but as the weeks went on, we made the best of if and even decided with a new kitchen, our home would be better than ever. It felt right to stay in our current home and not move. After months and months of being unsettled, we settled right back into where we’d always been - our home.
Our bedroom had been recently painted and not a thing was on the wall. Now that I knew we were staying, I decided to hang that giant wedding photo.
It dwarfed in size up on that clean freshly painted wall. I guess I ordered the right size after all.
Now, every morning I wake up to my giant face staring back at me. I’ve caught my kids staring at it and Eden wants to talk continuously about my wedding day. I’ve even caught Derek staring at it more than once. It sure makes me think a lot about my wedding day, how I feel about Derek and how blessed I am. Funny, a giant wedding photo was not what I meant to order, but it’s worked out to be a nice addition to our home.