published Monday, December 16th, 2013

Grand Thoughts: Getting priorities straight: Playing instead of cleaning house

Things are crazy at my house this time of year. I’ve got too much to do in too little time.

Decorating starts with Tilleigh Evie Boulevard — the path connecting my house with my daughter’s, who lives next door with my two granddaughters, Tilleigh, 6, and Evie, 3.

I string lights around the horseshoe-shaped path, where I also place inflatables, wooden characters and other decorations. This year, for the first time, I’ve added “William’s Candy Cane Lane,” named after my 15-month-old grandson who, along with his father, my son Kevin, moved in with us last September.

Once Tilleigh Evie Boulevard and William’s Candy Cane Lane are complete, I start decorating my house.

Every year, my husband and I host a Christmas party at our home for his co-workers, mainly criminal-defense attorneys and their guests. We have between 75 and 100 guests. It’s important to me for my home to reflect my love of Christmas, so I have a lot of decorating to do.

So instead of decorating, guess what I’ve been doing?


I’ve got a baby living in my house these days, and my granddaughters are next door. It’s only natural that we want to play.

With just two days before the party, instead of stringing the outdoor lights, hanging wreaths or even cleaning house, my husband, Hank, and I are listening to music and having a dancing party in the living room most every evening after work.

Evie, William and Boo — the kids call their grandfather “Boo” — rock out to Elvis singing “Jailhouse Rock” or the Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” Boxes of decorations line the living room walls and, instead of unpacking them, we’ve been dancing, doing art projects and playing. And we’re having a blast.

Evie and I even choreographed our own dance routine. (Tilleigh has been at play practice most every night the last two weeks. She’s in a Christmas play, starring in a role as an elf.)

When the party rolls around, the decorations will be unpacked, albeit hurriedly, and, the best part, nobody will notice.

So instead of making my house perfect for the holidays, it will be semi-perfect this year. What will be perfect, though, are the memories we’re making of playing, dancing and having fun. These childhood years fly by, and I don’t want to miss a thing.

Decorating can wait. Childhood can’t.

Contact Karen Nazor Hill at khill@timesfree or 423-757-6396.

about Karen Nazor Hill...

Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...

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