Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holiday Decorating- Not So Much

I’ve just realized that there are things at which I’d like to be good but which I am not. You’d think I would have figured it out when I didn’t make the Olympic swim team or become the editor of Vogue but those are from the years when I was dreaming big. This is something that should be a bit more attainable and yet, is not. I like to believe I have good taste and sometimes I do but the photos below proves it does not always extend to holiday decorating. This is what I loving call my hot mess of Christmas decorating. Or, for the first photo, to keep it arty: avant-garde deconstructionist Christmas. Before you assume I was drunk (not an unfair assumption in most cases), I was not.

The problem begins (every year) when I procrastinate and then go, “Holy hell, it’s December 12th I need to get the tree and house decorated.” Each year I am surprised that I don’t wake up one morning and find it all done. Seriously, once you’re not a kid with a 20’ wish list for Santa aren’t the elves supposed to stop by and decorate the house (leave cookies please!). Is that asking too much? I mean, if they don’t have the toys made by now it’s not going to happen. And I NEVER got the Barbie Big Head I asked for when I was 9 so I’m pretty sure I’m owed something here because I was very good that year.

You might also think that as I have scads of free time I would have gotten after this on Thanksgiving weekend. Again you’d be wrong despite the fact that every single year of my professional life I’ve said, “If I didn’t have to work I would have my house completely and perfectly decorated.” Again, a disconnect between what’s in my head and reality. Besides I was good to go and then some crazy cable station ran The Lord of the Rings trilogy uninterrupted for 48 hours. I can’t fight that!

Witty banter aside, what happened was this. Yesterday I finally forced myself to finish unloading the industrial size plastic bins of Christmas craft materials (read more on that here) that J hurled from the storage space in the garage onto the top of my car (yes, the Grinch was based on him). What I found is the same thing I find every year but once my oohing and aahing and ‘oh that’s so pretty’ is over, I’m finished. Here’s a partial inventory:

3 rolls of fancy embossed wire ribbon. There are probably 50 things you could do with it but that would mean taking off the plastic wrap that keeps it from unspooling and I’m not sure I’m ready for that commitment.

 Pretty right? And that's just one- plastic wrap intact.

3 28’ long plastic pearl garlands in red and gold. Two of these are woven artistically through the boughs in the ‘piece’ above which took a lot of time. That left me one which I was going to coil repeatedly around my neck as hip holiday jewelry but 28’ seemed a tad excessive and I was going out with fellow librarians who might, at some point, need to act as a job or character reference and the word ‘weird’ is not what I’m looking for (even if it would fly in Portland). Moving on.

2 (you thought I bought everything in 3s didn’t you? I CANNOT be labeled, all right?) strands of silver frosted snowflakes with a tiny light inside so they glow when plugged in. I’m fairly exhausted by this point so they’re draped artistically over the wine rack.

 The most interesting thing about this picture is that we have an unopened bottle of Ketel One in the house. WTF?

I imagine you’re getting the drift of things now. One, I don’t really understand what ‘draped’ or ‘artistically’ mean. And two, while I have an imagination so out of control I’m taking klonopin like Pez to stay calm it does not extend to holiday decorating. I’m admitting defeat- for now. Real defeat would mean giving away all these pretty things to someone who would use them and I’m not quite there yet. Next year, I’ll start earlier, I’ll make fresh pine wreaths, win the lottery...

How could I forget my favorite one? The barfing artistic draping of boughs and lights in front of candles atop an Ionic column (I may not know how to decorate but I sure as hell know my classic architecture, so there).


Abby said...

Oh my. Well, they call it Christmas spirit, and I think you get an "A" for effort AND spirit. At least you try, and despite your self-deprecating comments made in half-jest, I'm sure it all looks lovely.

If not, there is an open bottle of Kettle One nearby.

Kerry said...

Oh Catherine, I hear you! I'm half way through drafting a post on my feeble decorating attempts too. Draping going on at my place as well, and cheap...very cheap lights! My story's not half as good as yours though :) Hope you have a lovely, relatively unadorned Christmas x

vanyelmoon said...

I agree, it's the attempt that counts. We all have our talents, and yours just doesn't fall in the realm of decorating :)

Catherine said...

Abby- maybe what I need is more 'spirits'!

Kerry- Are you kidding me? Based on the photos on your blog I'm sure your house will be perfect tranquil Christmas chic!

Pamela D. Hart said...

Oh I'm so late in commenting!

I wish I could've come over and decorated your house...I LOVE wired ribbon! That spool is just beautiful! I'm so jealous!

I think your column looks very pretty!

If I may offer a suggestion? Put the stars IN the bowl, coming up out of the pine. Wrap some of that beautiful ribbon through the pine, then add your red & gold pearl garland. After that, add your ornaments. Use more though and arrange them in 3's and 5's (odd numbers work best). And of course, do it next year with lots and lots of spirits! ;-)

P.S. Klonopin is a life-saver

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