Longtime readers may remember my ode to the holiday decorating tradition I posted this time last year in which I confessed my holiday decorating took about three minutes and involved placing two holiday potholders on the counter by the stove. Once again, I must confess that my holiday decorating had me placing those same two holiday potholders on the counter by the stove. It also had me going through all the boxes of holiday decorations which consist mostly of those decorations specifically designed for hanging on a tree.
A couple of years ago, I culled my Christmas decorations substantially but kept almost all of my tree decorations mostly for sentimental reasons. Some of the ornaments date to my childhood. I also have a collection of ornaments from the many trips I’ve taken. I like to have a souvenir of my trip but I don’t want to carry back anything that is too bulky. Buying an ornament was inexpensive, easy to pack and when I decorated my tree I could remember the many trips I had taken as I placed the souvenir ornament on the tree. I have a little cuckoo clock from Germany, a key lime pie from Key West, Santa on a gondola from Venice and a Masai earring from Kenya. The Masai woman who sold me the earring couldn’t understand why I only wanted one earring and I tried to explain to her that I was going to use it as a Christmas ornament. It is one of a kind. But all the ornaments are still in the box because I don’t have a tree.
That’s not true. I do have a little metal tree. Not one of those aluminum trees from the 1960s but a metal artsy kind of tree. I placed it on the mantel but I can’t hang ornaments on it. Now when I used the word artsy a couple of sentences ago, I didn’t mean that this is a one-of-a-kind kind of art. This is a commercial, mass produced kind of metal artsiness (I didn’t think that was a real word, but spellcheck likes it.) that I received as a gift somewhere along the way and for whatever reason decided to keep when I did the great decoration cull of 2009.
I used to have a fake tree but long story short, I don’t have it anymore. I know some of you may be live tree purists and get some kind of thrill from vacuuming pine needles every other day, and the live trees are nice, but they aren’t alive. They’ve been severed from their roots and sticking them in a little bowl of water is like keeping a brain dead person on life support. It’s just a matter of time before the family pulls the plug. And that’s not the kind of happy thoughts you want dancing with the sugarplums, so fake trees are clearly better. After all, you just gently pack them up in their original box when the big day has passed instead of heartlessly casting them by the side of the road on trash day.
Of course, if you really must have a live tree, then do what my friend, Lynda, used to do. I don’t know if she still does this because we’ve lost touch over the years, but when we were half the age we are now, she always bought a large potted shrub or small tree and placed it in her living room. She wrapped the pot in festive paper, hung ornaments and lights on it and then when Christmas was over, she planted the tree in her yard. Now, that’s a tradition to embrace.
I never embraced it, but I thought it was worth embracing. I just went with the fake tree because it seemed easier. I still have all of the lights that used to adorn the fake tree and they still work. I decided to artfully drape the mantel that holds the metal artsy tree with a string of lights. You might think from the previous sentence that I have more than one mantel in my house, but I don’t. But the one I have looks quite festive draped with the lights. And they blink. I have this little plug that is probably older than me and it makes the lights blink.
You can tell the plug is ancient because both of the prongs are the same size which means it doesn’t matter how you plug it in. Unlike the plugs of today where one side is bigger than the other and you can’t just plug it in any which way because the receptacle has different size holes to receive the prongs. It always seems to happen that when you’re trying to plug something in where you can’t see the plug, you always try to plug it in wrong the first time. Unless you’re one of those overly analytical types who examines the visible outlets and determines that the large opening is always on a certain side and then you make sure you hold the plug so that the large prong lines up with the large opening, then it probably slides right in first try. But who thinks like that, except for me just now? Seriously, if you think like that let me know.
I seemed to have gone off on a rabbit trail as a friend of mine likes to say though rabbits are not the animal of the season. Reindeer track would be more holiday correct. And all that really means is that it took longer than three minutes to decorate today but it does look festive which is appropriate because I’m thinking of celebrating Festivus this year.