Holly and Shame: Christmas Decorating Tips from The Midway
Well, it's that time of the year again . . . the tinsel, the lights, the eggnog, those little pointy kind of decorations that look like a glass egg speared with a icicle that shatter on contact with pine needles spreading goodwill and 4-stitch lacerations to all . . . yes, it's time to break out the Christmas Decorations and turn your home into a festive celebration of Holiday cheer. We've put together a guide chock full of tips to help you spend less time hanging mistletoe and give you more time to spend alone with your loved ones, specfically your computer, where you will have time to find out what mistletoe actually is. A Flower? A vegetable? It always seems to be made of plastic. Have you ever driven past a large farm and said to your significant other, "Look dear, the mistletoe crop is coming along nicely this year"?
Pull out all your neatly labled, properly packaged, and easily located boxes used to store Christmas Decorations.
Pull out all the other boxes in your garage or crawlspace, opening each in turn and muttering dark, un-seasonal epithets until you actually find the Christmas Decorations. You will have to open, on average, 70-80% of the boxes in your storage area, many of them helpfully and inaccurately marked "Christmas Decorations"
Vow to store things better next year.
Wait one minute, then forget STEP THREE, since you're going to forget it later anyway.
PLANNING FOR THE INSIDE
A joyous yuletide comes from surrounding your living environment with treasured keepsakes and new surprises. You need to have some idea when you start exactly what decorations are most important and what kind of mood you wish to set. Perhaps you plan to put the same things in the same places this year as you have every year, in which case your planning is done. Kick back until the next section, and do some more mistletoe research -- for instance, what's with the kissing thing? Are you supposed to hug when you're both standing under, say, parsely? Should you squaredance under kudzu? I mean really . . .
Ok, the rest of you, who want to get creative and change everything around this year:
Get a seasonal copy of Martha Stewart's Living or Real Simple or Nicer Homes Than You Could Ever Hope to Have.
Use them to prop up the base of that one leg on the tree stand that's always a little wobbly, then get real and put stuff in the same place you always have. People who have different "themes" each Christmas and use real candles instead of electric lights and give people the kind of advice to be found in the magazines above don't go to humor sites for Christmas design ideas, so, you know, you're BUSTED.
PLANNING FOR THE OUTSIDE
I'd go with some lights. Lights are cool. You could frame your entire house, professionally securing the entire chained-together strand with 4-5 shots from a staple gun. Oooh, and maybe buy one of those creepy deer-shaped things made out of white branches that bend their heads. They look like skeletons. Skeletons are cool, and next year you could just go ahead and put it up in October, knocking two holiday seasons of outdoor decorating out with one stone.
Ooooh, and some stones. Stones are cool.
THE IMPORTANT STUFF
Where's the tree going to go? The same place as every year, or do you want to "shake it up" and try somplace new? How about the front window? How about the back window? How about the bathroom? How about giving up and putting it directly in the kids' room, so you can sleep in on December 25th?
The most important question, of course, is what kind of tree you should buy. You can go "live", and plan to go out and find and chop your own live tree from some obscure friend or relative's farm or you can just plan to do what you'll eventually end up doing anyway -- buying one from sullen teenagers in a fenced-in lot in front of the grocery store. Alternatively, if you don't want the hassle of caring for a live tree and you enjoy figuring out puzzles where the pieces all look the same but don't fit together, you can purchase a decorative artificial tree. Use this handy chart to see which kind of tree is right for you:
|Artificial Tree||Live Tree|
|Cost||Directly proportionate to how much you love your family, Grinchy McScrooge.||$40 more than you planned to spend. This is a universal law.|
|Ease of Setup||Most start with an unadorned pole in a base. Do yourself a favor -- just figure out how to hang the ornaments on that.||Screw it into the base, turn the hollow spot -- don't kid yourself, there's ALWAYS a hollow spot -- to the wall, and that's it! (other than spending the next 12 hours unscrewing and rescrewing the little things in the base in order to keep the tree from tipping over and killing you.)|
|Appearance||Nothing says Christmas like a pole in a base with ornaments scotch-taped to it. If you have children, they will remember this Christmas . . . FOREVER.||Ah, the fresh pine smell. Ah, the gorgeous natural greenery. Ah, the- what's that? a few needles? That's just the tree settling, right? Right? RIGHT?|
|Maintainence||Nobody will go near the pole. The lights won't even hang properly on the pole. If you're looking for hassle-free, this is the choice for you.||Carefully mix your family's traditional Christmas tree food using water, clorox, aspirin, kayro syrup, NyQuil, Captain Morgan, and Weed Killer. Or, just use plain tap water. It really doesn't matter, since you're going to forget to water it anyway.|
|Liklihood of Death (yours)||0-100% . . . entirely dependent on if you have a spouse, and their views on gun ownership||90-100% . . . those things are really just kindling looking for an excuse, so let's drape 30-year old electrical cords that have been balled up in a box all year and probably have more shorts than a Wal-Mart kids department in June! What could go wrong?|
|Disposal||Pack it up for next year -- it's not Christmas in your family without the pole! Or without the weeping children. Or the divorce papers and/or gunshot wounds.||Recommended sometime before Baseball season starts.|
THE NATIVITY SET:
Looks nice in a place of honor, maybe up on the mantle if you have one, or on a prominent side table. Remember to put the shepherds on the left and the wise men on the right, otherwise you are a heretic who might as well be using "South Park" figures in place of the holy family. Also, Joseph should be kneeling with his staff directly on whichever side the wise men are on, or, failing that, the least blasphemous side. What do you mean he doesn't have his staff? And what's this? The manger has a chip in it from when Uncle Norm tried to use it surreptitiously as a nutcracker last year! And the angel is flat out missing! This is why we can't have nice things . . . .
We were going to include a guide to Hannukah Decorating, Kwanzaa Decorating, and Ramadan Decorating. Can you guess why we didn't?
a) Cultural Ignorance
b) Cultural Ignorance and a lax attitude towards research
c) The fact that, for instance, Orthodox Jews don't get all defensive when you greet them at this time of year without mentioning their religious observance specifically.
d) Flat-out Laziness
e) Most of the above
At any rate, this should get you going on your festive holiday season . . . nothing's more festive, after all, than flashing red lights, and decorative red helmets, and the warm glow of a fire, until the authorities manage to put it out. Merry Christmas!