I was gung-ho to decorate for Christmas this year.
Then I opened the Christmas boxes stuffed with holiday decor.
I looked at all the glitz and glitter and did not feel that burst of fa-la-la-magic. Instead, I felt like a tall, curly-haired grinch. Minus the green complexion.
However, the kids were excited to douse the house in Christmas everything! Even though I FELT like a grinch, I didn’t want to BE a grinch. So we blasted Christmas music and got to work spreading holiday cheer around the house.
I set the Christmas tree up in the living room in front of the big window. Then I just looked at it like, “What am I going to do with you now?”
The glitz and glitter, the shine and sparkle was not what I was in the mood for this year. At all.
My son kept asking me when we were going to hang the ornaments on the tree. It only took him 7 1/2 minutes to hang all of his ornaments on the tree in his room, so he was back in the living room ready for more Christmas action in no time.
Imagine how confused he was when I said, “let’s cut up Daddy’s shirt and make ribbons for the tree!”
“Why? We have shiny ornaments!”
It’s a fair point.
It’s hard to explain to him how my minds works. I barely understand it myself!
Understated ribbon on the tree seemed like a good idea because it was the opposite of shiny ornaments. I didn’t have any understated ribbon, but I did have one of Handy Husband’s shirts in the donation pile that would work for making something ribbon-like.
After I tied the newly-made “ribbons” on the tree I decided the tree needed some filler. So I found all the fake flowers and other nature-y things I had and
shoved strategically placed them in the tree. I even used some fabric backing material…anything and everything not shiny was fair game. Antlers? Sure! Throw those on there too!
It was at this point that I had the brilliant idea (sarcasm alert) to make ornaments out of my son’s building blocks as a way to give the Christmas tree that handmade touch.
The ornament project took a couple of days to complete though and in the meantime, we weren’t spending any time around the tree! ZERO!
All the effort and none of the enjoyment.
Our home is the opposite of open concept. Every room has at least one door. Even between the kitchen and dining room there’s a door. This is pretty typical in older Irish homes as it was a way to save money by only heating certain rooms.
It turns out, at this stage in our lives, this particular home’s layout does not work for us. At all. I’m not saying that as a complaint, but more as an interesting observation of our habits and how we live in our space.
The living room is the one room in our home that rarely gets used and THAT’S where I put the tree. Why? Because that’s where Christmas trees go! Or, at least, that’s where I’ve always put our Christmas tree.
This house is much different than all the other places we’ve lived, but I was treating it the same.
No wonder I was feeling like a grinch. All the work to make the tree pretty and we weren’t even enjoying it. In hindsight, my aversion to the shiny ornaments was probably my brain’s early warning system.
After I had this realization, I knew there was a solution. Move the tree to a room where we spend our family time.
Oh, boy. Let me tell you! Dragging a mostly decorated tree across the house and through two doorways without causing major damage is not the easiest thing in the world to accomplish by yourself. Also, just a friendly reminder to unplug the dang tree before you pick it up and start that awkward shuffle to the next room. Not that I know from experience or anything.
Eventually and with the utmost thanks for no photographic evidence of the feat, I was able to get the tree situated in a corner of our dining room. Instantly, I felt SO MUCH BETTER. No more grinch. And no more ridiculous mental drama over a dang tree.
When the kids got home from school that day, they said, “Oh, mama! Now we can eat breakfast AND open presents!” My thoughts exactly, kids.
The dining room is where we spend most of our time as a family. For meals, of course. But also for homework, games, artwork, etc. It makes sense that the Christmas tree should be located where we spend the most time. It might not be the most conventional or make for the best photo op, but it’s what works for our family at this moment in time.
To me, creating spaces that live well for us is part of what makes a pretty happy home.
While I love our un-shiny tree, my son just asked me, “can we hang the shiny ornaments now?”
P.S. I swear our tree does have a top. Apparently, I just didn’t take a picture of it. Also, there is only one real present under the tree in this photo. The rest are fakes to hide the light cords.
P.P.S.S. While the tree looks close to the fireplace, it really isn’t. Plus, we don’t burn wood in that fireplace – just an occasional candle. So no one freak out.