If you are trolling the Internets for ways to create The Perfect Holiday Decor, you should keep looking. I’m a designer by trade but a sap for sentimentality at the holidays. So in my opinion, all of those beautifully color-coordinated Christmas trees you see in magazines, on TV, and trumpeted on other blogs belong in commercial environments. When it comes to holiday decorating in your home, I’m personally in favor of chucking all of that perfection right out the window in favor of keeping personal momentos. And then there’s the laziness and the Cobbler’s Kids Having No Shoes Syndrome.
If you were to walk into my house right now, you’d see a laundry list of designer faux pas:
Mismatched Christmas stockings, two of which (belonging to pets Popo and Larry) are hung from media cabinet knobs and not from proper stocking hooks. Phoebe favors anything that is over-the-top pink and princess. At the age of 4.5, I believe she’s entitled to have it. On the other hand, Jeb’s stocking has to positively reek with he-man masculinity. My stocking always has to play UN Peacekeeper to their two stockings’ styles and heretofore has maintained this delicate balance. However, this year I decided it was high time to replace Phoebe’s baby stocking and forgive me if I didn’t respect the existing color f-l-o-w. So her stocking’s going rogue. So what?
An artificial tree sporting white-corded lights amidst its green branches and a bazillion different ornaments that were never intended to coordinate with each other. I picked up new lights last year and didn’t notice they had white cords until I started unpacking them at home. I was too impatient to return them for green-corded ones then, and when I unpacked them again this year, time management issues once again trumped designer perfectionism. As for the ornaments, you can read my life history by cataloging my ornament collection: there were the years I obsessed over lime green and turquoise; the years I was into retro; the years I worked on Lassie, Underdog, and Lone Ranger licensed merchandise; the years I DIY’d blown glass ornaments at Ryno Glass in Temple, TX; my starving artist college years; and the years I braved day-after-Christmas sales. Now that Phoebe is getting older, my collection is growing to include items she has made or decorated, like this wonderful snowman who appears to have been bludgeoned:
I’ve got a good decade before she turns all surly and won’t be caught dead making Christmas ornaments, and they’re all going on my tree.
Holiday window clings haphazardly slapped on the living room windows. Kiddos like the window clings and Phoebe’s 4.5, so you do the compositional math. Oh…you would’ve at least cleaned the Larry nose prints off the glass before turning her loose to apply the clings? Well, goodie for you. You must be one of those perfect mommies.
A gingerbread house sitting on its decidedly unattractive white plastic base, with narry a single faux snowflake adorning its “grounds.” I suppose I should’ve thought to pick up some faux snow (or better yet, coconut flakes) to toss around the base of our g’bread house and make it look prettier. But if I’m not going to make a special trip in two years for green lights for the tree, chances are slim I’m not going to book it to the Wal-Marts for snow either.
A white wreath hanger on my black door. It’s our second year with this combo and I’ll bet you dollars to donuts I forget to proactively paint the hanger black next year too.
Ornaments hanging from paper clips. Did I mention I was too impatient to go to the store for missing supplies?
Here’s the deal: I do not plan ahead for my own holiday decorating. I know–gasp! clutch pearls! When I decide “today’s the day,” there is no halting the progress to go on some goosechase for green lights, black spray paint, faux snow or ornament hangers (chocolate chip cookie dough would probably be a different story). I just cringe momentarily and then shake it off. You know why? I have a fundamental belief that anyone who would judge me harshly for these imperfections…in the words of Kathy Griffin…can suck it.
I used to bribe my boys in preschool so they would make the ornaments the teacher planned out. I loves them all.
That’s why I love you, Robin. You’re the design guru for the common man.
And don’t forget that if your tree is like mine, there are lots of ornaments clumped together on the bottom branches where the kids can reach them–with no effort to spread matching ornaments around. “We’ve got the box of green balls open, so they must all go right. here.”