Happy Holidays and a hypocritical “Ho! Ho! Ho!” to you! Greetings from the land of styrofoam peanuts and “handmade” ornaments made in China! As a soundtrack for this post, I offer a song voted one of the worst in history, with a kitsch factor that more than makes up for it.
If you were with me last year, you may remember our Spontaneous Christmas Tree Surprise. Due to the random fortune of procuring that tree, I have not been holding my breath that synchronicity would strike twice. I thought perhaps we would make due with spray painted pine cones and bits of found greenery, saving the big hoo ha for our trip to the Grandparents.
And then, IT began to creep over me. A craving for twinkling lights. A deep, visionary hunger, satiated only by reindeer, snowflakes and stars. The company of a silent, yet breathing presence in the early dark of evening. Perhaps, most of all, the desire to knit our family together with traditional activities and keepsake ornaments popped up and announced “It Is Time”.
I tried stringing popcorn, and over the course of a day managed to produce a strand seven feet long…not even the twelve days of Christmas would be enough time to wrap a tree. I spray painted pine cones which make a nice centerpiece but also kinda add to the general visual overwhelm that is our kitchen in full swing. I thought about making bakers clay ornaments but realized it would be a better activity for next year when the dough won’t just be eaten as a substitute for boogers (“salty! yummy!”). Plus, truth be told, all my creative juju this season is going towards an upcoming performance and making gifts. I got out the ribbon and the doilies, but the delicate branches of my Norfolk Pine looked like they were glumly tolerating the whole thing, saying in an Eeyore sort of way, “Thanks a lot. Nice decorations. I hope you’re happy. How nice for you.”.
Finally, Fern and I were coming home from the playground one afternoon as evening came on, and we strolled by the window of a modest victorian down the block from our home. A tree was in the window, decked to the nines with vintage ornaments, with the peaceful twinkle of white lights. I could catch little glimpses of the garland above their mantle, the wreaths on the wall. My daughter squealed and we both stood in awe. It was a deciding moment. For us the holidays are not about consuming, but damnit, nothing leads to a sense of impoverishment like “making do” without a festive tree.
I know I could bust out the the glitter glue and scissors, or the fabric scraps and stuffing and continue in my efforts to be Suzie Homemaker. Instead, the next morning Fern and I (guiltily) set out for Japan town, where I knew Daiso and Ichiban Kan would have Just The Kind of decor I like. I also knew the products would be cheap, probably a dollar each. I know why those products are cheap. I know who makes them and where they come from. I know their beauty is a thin facade, masking their true, unsustainable, price. And I bought them anyway. Not only that, but I did it again three days later when I went to Target. I’m a hypocritical asshole. I’m not walking my talk. I am complicit with the Dementors of Doom.
But gosh our tree is pretty and hey my little girl is so happy when she sees our tree with the “dee”. I have already vowed to wrap up each ornament carefully when it is time to put them away, treating them as if they were made out of angels breath and spun gold. They might be cheapass crap, but they’re gonna be heirloom cheapass crap someday. I promise. (None of them are plastic, all are made out of wood or felt or fabric. I have STANDARDS yo).
The Norfolk Pine and our Spindly Succulent tree have cheered up considerably, and give off a proud little glow. Who doesn’t benefit from a little admiration?
In other news, our smoothie impoverishment has also come to an end with the arrival of an early xmas gift from Grandma and Grandpa Timmins. Along with our new blender was included a lifetime supply of styrofoam peanuts. What to do if we don’t want to send it to the landfill? Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. And then maybe I’ll make a beanbag.
Finally, a simple tradition I bet you did as a child. Take one open pine cone, the last dregs of your natural peanut butter and use a spoon to stuff all the cracks with the P.B. Then, take a paper bag full of bird seed and roll that puppy until it is coated and packed. Tie a piece of yarn around the top of the cone and hang in a tree. Now you, too, can “Feeeeed the
Have a great weekend.