December 10, 2008

Confessions of a serial holiday decorator.

It happens every year. Before the Thanksgiving leftovers are even sealed away in their Tupperware cocoon, I've promised myself that I'm going to somehow magically transform our house into a Christmas wonderland by the end of the weekend. I tell myself that this is going to be the year that I don't continue to add to the decorations right up until the moment St. Nick arrives. This is going to be the year I get it done in one fell swoop and then just sit back and enjoy it. This. is. going. to. be. the. year.

This year I even formulated an actual plan; a list of things that had to be done in order to declare our house "decorated." I was determined to get it all done on Thanksgiving weekend with military-like precision. So, after going to see the Rockettes (see photo above), we bought our trees. (See photos below.) Eric brought every last Christmas box upstairs. He then went to work on the lights outside. (Michal and Kenna have declared that he is "a very good worker." And I have to heartily agree.) At this point things were going quite well.

Eric set up the trees and strung the lights on two of them. I strung the lights on the third and then I started hanging ornaments.

Then it began. I found some ornaments I no longer liked and decided to clean out the Christmas boxes. And as I did, I realized that I couldn't find many of the ornaments that I do like. That's when I remembered that last year the entire tree fell over -- after I brilliantly decided to put it in a pot filled with sand -- and half the ornaments broke. (In my defense the tree looked unbelievably cute in a pot instead of draped with a dopey tree skirt. And I did follow the directions that said to anchor it with sand.) So this ornament discovery inspired a trip to Pottery Barn where I spent an hour walking around looking at all of their trees, all while telling myself that every little sparkly and shiny bauble I was admiring would be marked down 50% in just a few weeks. I kept telling myself this as my hand plunged into the bowl that was holding all the bright and sparkly things. I told myself this again as I meandered next door to Crate and Barrel . . . and again in Restoration Hardware. You see, this is the plight of a serial decorator. You're never quite done.

This was also the exact moment that I decided that this is the year that I'm going to buy and fill photo ornaments. I've said this for many years but this is the year I'm going to do it. So back to the bowl of sparkly ornaments, this time I'm grasping onto the ones that hold a photo. Which reminds me, I now need to choose and order photos for those ornaments. I'll add it to The Plan.

We have always purchased a second tree for Michal and Kenna and, until this year, it's always been small. This year they got a full-sized one. It's decorated with handmade ornaments and Disney princesses -- a simply stunning combination. I had it up for a couple days before they started lobbying for "rainbow lights" because they're "so fancy." Since it is their tree, I went on a quest for, and I quote, "rainbow lights that are pointy and small. Not the round ones and not the Charlie Brown kind either." I finally found one lone box at Target. Unfortunately, this was a box of 350 lights, which meant two strings of 175 lights. The tree already has white lights on it so after the new "rainbow lights" were wrapped and wrapped around it, it looked very much like something straight off the Las Vegas Strip. Michal and Kenna think it is possibly the most beautiful tree they've ever seen in their whole lives. Mission accomplished. Almost.

Now it needs a tree skirt. Add it to The Plan.

Another part of The Plan was to buy greens for the urns out front. I got that done Thanksgiving weekend. Then it snowed and the greens didn't get arranged according to The Plan. Instead, they were still wrapped in cellophane, covered in snow and cemented in ice inside the urns. Eric chipped them free and brought them inside so I could arrange them. Then I made a tactical error. I decided to drive around a little to look at other urns. There is a historic mansion in town that was just completed restored by the city. It's decked out for Christmas like nothing I've ever seen. And right in front of it are two urns. That's when I decided my urns really needed some berries and a bow.

See what I mean about serial decorating?

And then there's that darn Martha Stewart. She is a terrible enabler. She just keeps sending me cheery e-mails trying to goad me into another project. It is very specifically her fault that I have two wreaths on my front door. It is her fault that I went to three stores to find the perfect ribbon to hang those two wreaths on the front door. And it is also her fault I'm seriously considering making ice luminaries to line our front walk. They are, after all, the perfect combination of my Arizona roots and my Chicago home.

I think I'll go add that to The Plan.

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