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Archive for November, 2011

Starting Slow

I wasn’t going to decorate for Christmas. It seemed like one more thing to do—one more thing to worry about, to keep the animals from gnawing on, to try and keep clean.Image

But then I did it after all. Last year, I lusted after this West Elm by David Stark twig tree and all its accoutrements. I bought the tree in the post-holiday sales when, oddly, it was wait-listed until April. It showed up on my doorstep right before spring. I stored the box away without even opening it. The ornaments were harder to find—I tracked them down in a tangled post-Christmas clearance heap at the West Elm store near Ricky’s parents’ house in New Jersey.

Given that prolonged and unseasonable purchasing process, it really seemed ridiculous not to bring it out this year, even if decorating a tiny corner of my tiny living room feels a bit pointless. Ricky’s family always has a large and lovely Christmas tree that I get to enjoy each year, so my own decorations always feel kind of stopgap.

When I think about it, my family has always had kind of a strange relationship with holiday decorations—I have vague memories of my dad wrestling with a Christmas tree stand in my early childhood, but mostly I remember the artificial tree we had in Boulder. The cats always climbed it, and over the years, I think we lost most of our glass ornaments that way. One year, we left for Mexico either right before or right after Christmas—taking the cats with us—and stayed gone until spring. I still remember how odd it was to see the fully-decorated tree still standing in our living room when we returned. A glass pickle ornament that I was particularly fond of survived the cats that year.

Later, when Christmases were often just me and my mom in the St. Louis house, she let me decide what I wanted to do. I think we still had the same artificial tree from Colorado—it had sharp, plasticky needles that stabbed and sliced our fingers as we wrestled the branches into some semblance of nature.

One year, we decorated the tree with bunches of faux grapes. Another year, we cut out chains of paper dolls holding hands. I made an army of tiny angels out of copper wire and plum-colored beads. Image

My mom bought the sparkly brush animals for me when she was here a few weeks ago—they’re Martha Stewart (of course) at Macy’s. I have quite a few of these animals now, but I can only bring a few out at a time—they’re rather hard to protect from the cats.

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