Not the real vs. fake debate. We settled that a few years ago when we got rid of the old, basement-smelly thing we had before and started buying real trees from the SPCA (cheaper than adopting a cat, though more messy).
No, the debate before us today concerns decorating this tree.
You see, we had decorations. We had a big ol’ mish-mash of them, in fact. Paper ornaments, coloured lights, white lights, ornaments we’d picked up over the years. Wooden ornaments, rustic wool things, brightly modern plastic balls, classic gold balls from the first year after we got married, ornaments we received from friends or inherited from our parents…
I think we were only half-done decorating in that picture… and don’t mind the mummy cat. That’s Mumford. It’s a long story. He’s cool, though.
And then the basement flooded last spring. Remember that? Well, my office wasn’t the only thing destroyed. The guys who did the clean-up (bless them) did a great job, but when the basement is full of plastic bins, it’s easy to miss a few that got water in them even though they looked like they were still sealed. And in this case, that was ALL of our Christmas decorations.
I didn’t know until a few months ago, when I went searching to find the reason why we were all getting itchy eyes from trips to the basement. I found the culprit in our bin of ornaments: thick, dark mould.
So I hauled that bin upstairs, cried a little, saved about five ornaments that I could wash and soak in bleach, and threw the rest (ornaments, four strings of lights, and a few other things) in the trash.
I thought that was the end of it, until last week, when I decided to re-construct my office walls. I found four more bins with mould in them. Three of them were the rest of the decorations we usually put up around the house.
All of this is to say that yes, I’m heartbroken. Physical things can be replaced, but there were a lot of memories wrapped up in those ornaments. But there’s no point whining and moaning about it, and there is one good thing coming out of this: It might take a few years to afford to do it all, but we get to start over.
Guys, I could have a tree with a THEME. I mean a theme like “Classic Christmas” or “Gold,” not “OIL AND OUR ECONOMY” or “MURDER ON THE F-TRAIN.”* I could aim for something that’s a bit more pulled-together than “whatever ha struck our fancy over the years” and “whatever we could grab on sale.”
Could be fun, right?
So this is my dilemma. What to do? When I stopped in at Canadian Tire yesterday (automotive and just so much more), I got a few ideas for options.
We could go fun and cute and child-centric, with trains and nutcrackers and bright colours and simple shapes.
I wouldn’t mind something grown-up and sophisticated, with gold and understated elegance. It’s not really me most of the year, but this would just make it that much more special. Like this, but less competently put together.
Red is always festive, and is nice with gold. And sparkles. I like sparkles…
Then there are really modern-looking trees, with blues and purples and spiraly shapes and shiny ornaments. Like this. Gotta love whimsy!
Or there’s the rustic look, which is also appealing: wood and burlap and woodland creatures**
Whatever we do, there has to be room for the Beatles, superhero, My Little Pony, and random “because I liked it” ornaments that we’re bound to pick up over the next few years.
So… I don’t know. Want to tell me about your tree, or your decorating philosophy, or other holidays you like to decorate for? If you had a fresh start for any kind of holiday decorating, what would you do?
*Also not “EMO VILLAGE” or “MY LITTLE OMBUDSMAN” or “WHY ISN’T UNCLE LEROY MOVING?” I’m good at coming up with themes, but this isn’t what I meant at all.
**Not real ones