Posted on 13 Comments

There are no rules in Christmas decorating

It’s a small thing, really, but it still took entirely too long to hit me:  Decorating for Christmas does not have to be a One Day Event.

It does not have to be like the one festive Sunday of my childhood, a few weeks before Christmas, when we would put up the tree and decorate the house, to the sounds of Barbra Streisand and The Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  Those days were wonderful – the kind of day a kid could look forward to all year – but it’s a standard I’ve been unable to live up to for at least a decade.

It’s just too much to expect that I can free an entire day in early December to devote to a “decorateathon.”  And until recently, I hadn’t realized I didn’t have to.

Wow.  Suddenly, there’s the freedom to put out the holiday kitchen linens (or finish sewing them, ahem.  still not done…) on December 1st, hang up Tacky Santa in the living room sometime the next week, and get to the tree whenever we get to it.  (It’s that dang tree that takes so long.  It’s such a big job, and so easy to put off. )

So today, which has really been an exercise in frustration for one reason or another, had a small bright spot smack in the middle of it.  Eamonn has been asking for at least three days, several times a day, if we could put up the tree.  And I’ve been saying “no” for three days.  Several times a day.

Today, at my wit’s end, I replied, “if you can go find something to keep yourself busy for one hour, and let me get some work done, I will go into the attic, get the Christmas tubs down, and we can decorate the living room together.”  He scurried off, I dealt with some business email, and at 2:25pm, as promised, we ventured into the attic together to get the stuff.


Eamonn dusted the tables for me, while I put away the coats that were strewn across the back of the couch.

We need smaller ornaments

Then we dug through the tubs and picked out all of the Santa-related decorations we could find, along with a few trees & snowmen, and set up a happy little holiday oasis in the living room.

Mission accomplished

It’s the only decorated room we have, and it’s bound to stay that way for at least another week.  I’m fine with that. though.  I now know there is no rule that says I have to do it all at once!

Mulberry candle

When we’d set the last Santa statue in place and lit the Mulberry candle, I felt done, and at peace, that even if we didn’t get the family room decorated and the tree in place with more than a day or two to spare, at least we’d have this part of the house until then.  We’d have this holiday retreat, and I wouldn’t have to feel bad for what I haven’t yet accomplished.

I enjoyed that thought for roughly three tenths of a second before Eamonn looked around and said, “can we put up the tree now?”  Gotta love the one-track five-year-old mind, eh?


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Posted on 13 Comments

13 thoughts on “There are no rules in Christmas decorating

  1. Thanks Lisa, I was feeling bad about not having any decorations up at all, and not finding the time to do it all at once – I shall start with a wee bit tomorrow – although I have to tidy first so who knows………………

    See what Ursula has been blogging about: Money, balls and rabbits…….

    1. Glad I could help! The great thing about this idea is that you only have to tidy one room at a time, not the entire house 😉

  2. We just got the tree decorated last night. (Yeah, the tree was up for 3 days with no decorations… and I’m ok with that LOL).

    What was cool this year was that Drew did a LOT of the decorating himself. He even did a great job putting the ornaments all over the tree, rather than in just one spot! 🙂 He totally crammed the tree with ALL the ornaments we had, but you know what? I really like it that way – it looks great!

    So… you might be surprised this year with the help you’ll get. And how much you might not have to do yourself!

    good luck!

    1. That sounds nice… The worst part about the tree for me, though, is putting it together and putting on the lights. I hate that part. The ornaments don’t bother me so much.

      The kids did a lot of it last year, and it was so funny the way they clumped everything. Some branches had nothing, and other branches had six things hanging from them, LOL!

  3. love the thought and embrased it totally!! we just put up a few things last night. all in one room like you…hmmmm. maybe next year?

    See what becky has been blogging about: My Written Excuse

    1. Isn’t it free-ing? I can’t believe it took me so long to realize I could decorate like this – one space at a time, at my own pace. So much less pressure this way.

  4. he he… we do this too. We just have a small tree and it goes up in mid December but as school Christmas crafts drift home and Chloe notes her favourite Christmas items from my fall inventory, the apartment gets a little more decorated.

    That said, my 9 year old is as single-track as your 5 year old: Can we put up the tree this weekend mom?

    See what Elaine has been blogging about: Bright Spots

    1. Heh. I think mine has finally gotten the hint about the tree. For now. I bought him some garland today at the drug store, so that he could hang it in his room. I don’t know when he became Little Mr. Decorator, but it’s cracking me up! I just wish he’d clean something first, instead of just decorating the clutter…

  5. […] festive enough for you, get a load of my little Christmas elf.  He’s decided I’m never going to get around to putting up the tree, and has taken it upon himself to decorate the house […]

  6. Ok, I’m not feeling so bad anymore that my tree just went up last Saturday. Several of my neighbors had the tree and outside lights up the day after Thanksgiving. Talk about pressure!!

    Lisa, when we were kids (I’m a few years older than you, but it still applies) there weren’t all the decorations that take a week to put up! There was the tree, a few indoor nic-naks, and the light up Frosty the Snowman you stuck on the front porch. That’s it. Now we have decorations for the bathroom for cryin’ out loud! This year, I bucked the system and only put up what I could in one day. And I’m good with it. The kids were a little miffed, but they are over it now. Merry Christmas!

    1. Many of my neighbors are the over-achieving day-after-Thanksgiving decorator types, too. I tell you, these days, I’m lucky to get the tree up by Christmas Eve…

      Hmm, you know, my parents’ house might have been an exception to that simplicity rule. I remember bringing box after box up from the basement. Dad, my sister & I would put up the tree, and Mom would decorate the house. It took just as long to get all of the knick knacks in place as it did to put the tree up!

      My grandmother’s house was the same way – I just come from a long line of insane holiday decorators, LOL! I’m afraid I just can’t live up to those standards – and I am ok with that!

  7. Forget the standard! Do what you can, when you can is what I say.

    My tree is up, but that’s because with 2 in their 20s and a teenager (all boys), with jobs, girls, ball, and school, I took the opportunity to have them all together the Sat. after Thanksgiving and we put it up.

    Other than the hand and foot print painted on canvas wreath my eldest made in kindergarten, and the 3 foot plastic light up Santa that I finally bought for myself this year, that’s all we’ve done, and probably all I’ll do.

    Oh yeah, and the NOEL train that my boys rearrange to spell LEON, no matter how many times I fix it! It really wouldn’t be Christmas without that!

    See what Denise Fuson has been blogging about: Pickin’ and Grinnin’

    1. LEON? I love it! I can totally see my boys doing that 🙂

      For the last few years Neil and my kids have put as many weird animals as they can find in the nativity scene – aliens, dinosaurs, giant penguins: they all make it in. Boys will be boys, eh?

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