Do You or Don't You - Decorate?
My son sold fresh Christmas wreaths as a fundraiser and the wreaths came in yesterday. Because they're fresh, I wanted to deliver them promptly. When I dropped off a couple of items at my friend's house, she was already knee-deep in Christmas mode. The outdoor lights were up and she had several decorations in her house -- candles, knick-knacks, even an undecorated tree. And her three-year old daughter was making gingerbread men. Really?

I felt like such a slouch. I have nothing outside or inside my house yet that remotely looks like Christmas (OK, except for the aforementioned wreath, which I of course bought from my son and which my husband is now refusing to allow me to nail to the semi-new front door). Sheesh, when I dropped the wreath off with my friend, I had just gotten off work, picked up said wreaths, returned home to get son #2 cranked up on homework, ventured out to deliver said wreaths, and then was on my way to the grocery store to do my weekly shopping, making sure to pick up some rice to go with the teriyaki beef in the crock pot at home. I then returned home with the groceries, finished making the dinner, helped both boys with homework, read with son #1, and then sat down to write for an hour before bedtime. Gingerbread men? (This friend is a stay-at-home mom, which is a topic for a whole other post!)

Back to the Christmas decorations. I do put up outdoor lights on occasion because the kids like them. But if I don't get those suckers up by the week after Thanksgiving, I never will. Then the excuse becomes, "I'm not going to put up lights for two freakin' weeks." Notice the outdoor lights fall under my purview? Isn't the "man of the house" the one who usually hauls out the ladder and gets tangled in strings of lights and lets loose with a few choice epithets? Not in our household. My husband: "I don't care if we have lights, but if you want them you can put them up." Chivalry is dead, I tell you.

That's for the outdoors. For indoors, my Christmas decorations are pithy indeed. I have a few Christmas-themed candle holders, which I drag out, and the kids' stockings go up on the fireplace. We usually get our tree, a fresh one because I like the smell, a few weeks before Christmas and then we take it down the day after Christmas. My husband is paranoid about fires. (He's coming across as a real Scrooge, isn't he?) Although I've seen fancier, prettier, neater trees than ours, I love our ornaments because a lot of them consist of crappy pieces of popsicle sticks stuck together to form a reindeer with antlers or used CDs with a picture of one of my boys as a toddler stuck on it, and other (poorly) homemade ornaments that my kids created in pre-school. I love those crummy ornaments. When we decorate the tree, I always insist on playing Christmas music. I usually put on The Philadelphia Orchestra playing The Nutcracker or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing Christmas carols.

Which brings me to one of my favorite aspects of Christmas - the music! I love Christmas music. Son #2 is in choir this year in middle school (don't ask me why, he barely moves his lips when he sings in a choir performance - looks like he's experiencing some major fright or something, which is weird because he's a really good singer otherwise when he's singing along with Jay Sean or Fergie). That's totally off-topic, but I'd much prefer to sit and listen to Christmas carols (and sing along) than decorate my house!

Happily, not everyone feels that way and we have a "Candy Cane Lane" in our town. It's a street where every house on the block decorates. I've heard it's even written in the contract when someone sells their house in this neighborhood. One house has a train track in their front yard; another house has an outdoor movie theater set up where "It's a Wonderful Life" plays continuously; one house plays Christmas carols from speakers in the yard; and Santa holds court at the end of the cul-de-sac a few nights a week.

That is my decorating confession. How about you? Do you go all out or do you barely get a tree up?

Ah, and to make the season even more hectic, it is son #2's birthday today. He's 12 and is now as tall as I am. Once he surpasses me, I will be the shortest person in my household. Son #1 already towers above me. So for the big birthday bash, I am taking him and 8 of his closest friends to see the movie The Blind Side, then I'm taking them to In 'n Out (don't ask - exclusively West Coast burger joint), then they're returning to our house for cake and ice cream, an Xbox fest, and a sleepover (that means I will have 10 boys in my house for several hours - can't wait). My husband will be holed up in our bedroom with his earplugs in...
21 Responses
  1. Oh, I haven't started decorating my house yet and I don't see it very positively since I will be extremely busy in the next days. Well, Christmas decor is nice, but I usually get kinda tired of the Christmas tree after few days. Thus I like to decorate it just few days before Christmas and I enjoy it much more that way.


  2. Carol, I get worse and worse each year. My Halloween/fall decorations are still up--but will come down this weekend so I can decorate for Christmas inside. My hubby does not do outside, so I go overboard inside. And you know from GIAMx2 that I usually take them down sometime between end of January-March, depending on how the writing is going. :)

    Tell #2 Happy Birthday and best of luck with all those boys in the house overnight. I like your hubby's plans for that party. LOL

  3. Elli, I'm with you on the tree. I love how it makes the house smell when it's up, but the day after Christmas I'm ready to get my furniture back in its place and sweep up all those pine needles.

  4. Stacey, you crack me up! Halloween decorations still up? What's the joke? "You know you're a redneck when you still have Christmas lights up for the Fourth of July" (?) or something like that! Thanks for the b-day wishes for #2!

  5. You're making jokes about me!!??

    Just because I forgot to take the red and green colored lights out of my front porch lanterns the past two years does NOT mean I'm a redneck. NO matter what my neighbors say!



  6. Caroline Says:

    Good morning, Carol!

    I go all out - inside. I just love all the Christmas decorations! The make a house so very homey.

    We haven’t' been big outdoor decorators because we've lived out in the country for the past fourteen years. Since our move a month ago we are going to have to step up to the plate, so to speak. LOL

    I'm looking forward to it!!

    Have a joyous Christmas!

  7. LOL Stacey - I'm just sayin'

  8. Caroline, can you come by our house and work some magic? Enjoy your decorating!

  9. Jill James Says:

    I think our house is in the middle. We are a little slow getting started this year because we went to Disneyland just before Thanksgiving and it threw me off.

    The outside lights went up yesterday (husband), but we had some not working ones, so today I have to get new lights so he can finish.

    We have a penquin, snowman, sign, tree, train, and Santa for front yard. I'm not much of an inside decorating person. Some Christmas soaps for bathroons, some candleholders for the dining room table, and some Christmas stuffed animals for the fireplace.

  10. Jill, you decorations sound perfect! I love those trains. Do you want to send your husband to our house to put up our lights?

  11. Jill James Says:

    Carol, I would if you weren't so far away. LOL

    He is so sweet about it. He hates heights with a passion and our house is two stories. So the whole time he is up there he is saying, "I love my wife. I love my wife. I love my wife."

  12. ShawnaMoore Says:

    I've always enjoyed decorating, Carol. These days, though, my approach is more minimalistic. I've not put up any lights on the outside this year but have the Victorian village ready to shine inside :)

    Happy weekend wishes,


  13. Sandy Says:

    The Blind Side is a terrific movie. Enjoy,Carol.

    I used to decorate a lot, but not anymore. My husband doesn't want to help, so I don't do it. lol

    Use door hangar to hang your wreath and then you won't have put a hole in your door.

    Great post.

  14. Natasha Says:

    We put up a Christmas tree - artificial, I have some awesome pine scented candles for the scent and I don't have to sweep up the needles. Other than that, I don't decorate much. I do love Christmas music too - time to get out the holiday CDs.

    And Carol, I'm the shortest in my house too. The kids surpassed me years ago :)

  15. Shawna, ooh, that Victorian village sounds wonderful!

  16. Sandy, I've heard good things about the movie. Hope it's not too mushy for the boys. I'll have to look into that door hanger.

  17. Natasha, the artifical trees are convenient, but I just can't give up on that imperfect tree that tilts to one side and has a few bare spots and drops its needles all over the floor.

  18. Nicole North Says:

    LOL Too funny, Carol! Hope your son had a happy birthday! I'm one of those barely decorates kind of people. Too much work and hardly anyone sees it anyway. Great post!

  19. Happy Birthday to your son, Carol! Sorry this is a day late, but for some reason the email didn't show up till today. *shrug*

    I love outdoor Christmas decorations, though we haven't even started putting them up yet. Our house is pretty tall, and I'm afraid of heights, so that's my husband's job. He'll whine about it, but he'll do it if he wants certain rewards...LOL I don't do much inside, just the tree, stockings and some other small decorations.

  20. Carly Carson Says:

    Decorate inside and out. Real tree every year, a big one which we struggle with mightily. I, too, love best the ornaments my kids have made and/or given me. I have banned myself from buying any more Christmas decorations, however. lol

  21. Cameo Brown Says:

    We don't decorate much now, as time doesn't permit it. However, we get a few things out to perk things up. It's just enough to not wear us out and to bring holiday cheer into the season. I really enjoy driving around and seeing all the neat decorations in our city, too. Kind of a holiday voyeurism. lol

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