Friday, December 01, 2006


Originally posted at Growing a Life as part of the Blog Exchange.

I can be laidback about some things (see: dog hair on floor, presence of; vegetables in children’s diet, absence of). But there are Rules about Christmas Trees, and they cannot be broken, at least in my house. (Whatever you want to do at your house is cool with me, especially if you are serving Champagne and eggnog.)

1. None of this artificial business. The tree has to be real. Yes, I know I will be picking up needles, and probably finding them in my son’s diaper too, long past Valentine’s day (oh, and they have to be short needles – not those long silky kind). Yes, I know it’s a hassle to wrestle it on top of the car, through the front door, and into the tree stand. I know there are fake trees that look very real. But you will never, ever, ever convince me to have one in my house.
1a. Corollary: Proper scheduling. Fake trees can go up anytime, but a real tree must be purchased, decorated, and disposed of in a more reasonable time frame. There is no need to follow the lead of the department stores and put up the tree in October. It should go up on or about December 10 and be out on the curb by New Year’s Day.

2. This is my living room, not the Sunset Strip. White or colored lights are both acceptable, but there must be no flashing. Lights must be small, plain bulbs, not huge reindeer or chili peppers or any other funky shape. Ornaments should most certainly not require batteries to power lights, music, fog machines or any other "special" effect.

3. Ornaments must be one-of-a-kind. No generic packages of 12 multicolored balls or 24 icicles or 6 of those weird upside-down ice-cream cone thingies. (I will make an exception for candy canes—if they are edible.) Ornaments should be fun, interesting, homemade, acquired for a reason or received as a gift. They should commemorate vacations, new babies, new homes, hobbies or jobs. And no tinsel!

4. Decorating is a family affair. Everyone must go together to pick out the tree; everyone must help drag the boxes of ornaments and other goodies from the basement; everyone must help put the ornaments on the tree. And everyone must listen to Bing Crosby’s Christmas album.

5. Enjoy it! Every night before bed, turn off all the lights except the ones on the tree. Squint a little so everything’s all twinkly. Admire, and go to bed dreaming of Harry Connick, Jr.

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