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Deck the halls — and floor

There is a mighty storm across the school library of holiday paper, icicle strings of various styles, small fluffy balls, colored paper, scissors and other assorted bits from a student-created Winter Wonderland.

It is ridiculous, hilarious, delightful and a work in progress. What the lunch crowd lacked in precision, they made up for in enthusiasm.

The problem I have in wrangling kids is that I foolishly have expectations that are more Pinterest quality than real-children quality. I have adjusted those expectations and now we are all having fun.

I started saving boxes in September with visions of creating a holiday village myself. Again with the unrealistic expectations. I soon realized I had neither the energy nor the time to accomplish that this year.

Then I got the bright idea that my usual lunchtime library visitors could each pick a box and do the creative work themselves.

It took a couple of days to deliver all the boxes up to school. Then I indulged myself and went to the $1 store to gather up lots of sparkly garlands and other stuff I thought the kids would like to use.

The next day I presented the idea to a receptive audience. Maybe a little too receptive. That first day was like a piranha attack. I hadn’t made it clear that this activity did not need to be and should not be done in one day, so some chaos ensued.

When the kids faded off to class, I was surrounded by a zillion scraps of paper, tinsel bits, tape and glue drips. Realizing I had not policed the situation properly, I laid no blame and cleaned it up.

The next day, and days hence, however, I started each session with some serious instruction about cleanup. I even tried to stop things just before the bell to give them time to clean up.

It was only mildly successful, but we tried. I was kind of tickled that they so hated to stop work on their box buildings.

After a week, most of the boxes look rather like festive houses, stores, a clock tower, a toy store, a library and more, but several are still under construction and will be finished sometime in December.

I’m fine with that, although I do look forward to an end of daily tinsel pickup. Or maybe I’ll just leave it where it falls and call it Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa décor.

I am particularly grateful to our school custodians, who have shown early holiday spirit with their nightly vacuuming. There will definitely be something special in their stocking.

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer who can’t resist a bit of sparkle. Contact her at [email protected].