Life is full of compromises. Unless you are super, well-off, one of the compromises you make when you live in a big city is that space is at a premium. I am super jealous of Coralie’s ability to decorate her lovely home. I wish I had the room for multiple trees. I come from a very pro-multiple-tree household… but when you are working with a little less than 1200 square feet you have to be smart about decorating. Plus, the holidays in California are kind of weird. You have all the evergreen boughs and lights out, but there is such a strange disconnect from the wintery wonderland of the holidays and the fact that you are wearing a short sleeve shirt and the roses are blooming.
My mom is the queen of Christmas stuff. She has a veritable trove. And as much as I love helping to set it all up every year I am always conscious of the fact that it will all have to be put back when the season is over… which is why I didn’t *gasp* bring out my holiday china this year. Mainly because I had only just recently unpacked it from the move! I’m not bah-humbugging anything. I love putting on some holiday music, mixing a bourbon eggnog, and gettin’ into the spirit. But, to maximize the amount of work you put into it, putting up decorations earlier just makes sense. I didn’t grow up with a decorating plan. My family always waited for a convenient weekend, and then my Pops would take us (my brother and I- and one time Coralie!) out to the farm in the dawn light where we would hunt for our perfect tree. We cut it down, and get another for my Grandmama. Once the trees were trimmed and in their stands, then the decorating would commence. But it was never on a certain date. Jojo got me into the ”decorate during Thanksgiving Holiday” train… and I’ll never go back. Again, wanna enjoy all that work for as long as possible. One year, in a fit of inspirado (and not wanting to pack up the tree) I tried to carry the tree into the New Year by making an ‘All-Occasions Tree.” After decorating a MLK, Jr. tree, I was over it and ready to embrace its limited shelf-life-edness.
I really started cultivating my adult Christmas collection when I moved to Chicago. It was the first time that I had been ‘far away’ from my family during the holiday season. The 3-foot, fake tree that I bought at Target served me well for many a’year, but it sadly did not make the trip out to California. My ornament collection grew steadily (2-3 ornaments a year) and Jojo’s Mom mailed his childhood ornaments a few years ago so we truly outgrew our 3-footer. We were starting to triage ornaments… it was time for an upgrade. So, this year, ladies and gentlemen, I present our brand new… 4-footer! My camera hates the lights… but notice our awesome electric fireplace! A hilarious feature in our apartment.
Our old, fake tree came in a innocuous bowl. This new one has a plastic tripod. Can you guess from what my new skirt is made? Can ya guess? White plastic bags from the grocery store. Re-Use That Thing! I like the floaty, fluffy texture!
I knew I wanted to do something holiday-ish with the mantle above the afore mentioned electric fireplace. The design just kind of came about by accident. I am finally done unpacking but had stashed all of our candles there temporarily until I could find a place for them. After removing the non-holiday candles, and moving the glittery ones forward, I found my giant ornaments, and arranged accordingly. I kind of love it.
And last, but never least… Santa Claus Riding a Dinosaur.
Thanks for indulging me and looking at my decorating pics! So, let’s talk about electric ornaments and the anatomy of a Christmas tree light. As mentioned above, my Mom loves Christmas. When my brother was little, they collected together a lot of the Hallmark ornaments- getting several of the “lights and sound” variety. Since I’ve helped put them up every year since, I have become familiar with the inner workings of a holiday string of lights socket. Since I recently repaired one, I thought I would give you guys a closer look so you will be prepared when your lights don’t come on because of a broken circuit.
My love of Star Trek is something that I have developed late in life. That being said, the Christmas after I had watched Star Trek Deep Space Nine (like 2 years ago), I noticed this amazing ornament that in prior years I had never cared about. It normally got left in the bottom or lost the ornament triage, in favor of the Singing Chicken Coop Choir. But after having fallen in love with Deep Space Nine, this ornament became more precious to me than latinum. So precious that when we packed it back up after Christmas with my folks, I packed it up in my suitcase and took it with me for my personal tree! As Josh is also a big DS9 fan, he also loved it as much as I. When I unpacked it, however, I noticed that due to some wiring contact issues, I would have to fix it if I wanted the light and sound to work. So, I broke out my jewelry tool kit (finer metal bending instruments) and unplugged everything and got to work.
You want your plug to look like the bulb on the left, so I removed the plastic cap from an extra bulb that had come from the string. Once I had straightened the contacts (metal prongs), I threaded them through the new plastic cap. Once threaded, I tamped the down on the sides. See how picture 4 now looks like the “right” picture? Insert plug into empty socket and gently press down. Plug in lights to see if you are successful. I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to fix it… but was so pleased to hear Worf’s voice.
The winner is me! Make sure the volume is on! Q’apla, y’all! Hope your holidays are honorable!