#17: Decorating for Christmas

You’ve shown better restraint than all the department stores and have waited until after Thanksgiving to start decorating for Christmas. Good for you! You disagree with the now established belief that Halloween is merely a speed bump that slows down the advancing holiday season. Delayed gratification has won out, and now you can indulge yourself by decking your halls to the hilt. Your house will embody what “The Season” is all about: joy, peace, and good will toward men. Jesus may have slept in a manger, but if he passed your house on a donkey, he’d totally want to sleep in your front yard.

Ironically, you will not have joy, peace, or good will toward men as you decorate for Christmas. It’s hard work turning your home into a Winter Wonderland, and the process contains unforeseeable aggravations. First, you have to buy the tree. That eight footer at the farm looks gorgeous, but it would never fit in your family room, let alone tie to your car roof. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation may be hilarious, but it also contains sage wisdom on the topic of Christmas tree purchasing. So you get the realistically-sized tree, but it will have a sparseness on one side, since your principled decorating timeline prevented you from buying the best available tree a few weeks ago. No matter; once you throw some ornaments and lights on it, no one will notice.

Except… why are so many ornaments broken? Oh, right, you accidentally threw your set of free weights on the box last year after giving up on your New Years Resolution. Well, there are still some unharmed ornaments. And a little hot glue will fix a few others… but that means an afternoon of intense, surgeon-like work. Great. While the ornaments dry, you string the Christmas lights on the tree in a way that would make Norman Rockwell proud. But then you turn on the lights, and… nothing happens. C’mon, these were brand new lights just last year! Taiwan doesn’t design those twinkly bulbs for durability, mister. This means another trip to the store, and if you’re lucky, they’ll still have the kind of lights you want.

After a Black Friday-like argument with another customer over the last box, you’re back in the car with enough Christmas lights to sparkle the tree in your home and the trees in your yard. At least, you thought you had enough lights. Jeez, these strings are pretty short. Do you choose to make one bush look awesome or water down the strings over all the plants in your yard? Only you can make that soul-searching decision, but know that you will have to live with your choice for weeks after.

The modern day world has raised the bar on Christmas decorations. If you lived in Dickensian London, you could get away with just nailing a wreath to your door. But your last name isn’t Cratchit, and you have access to electricity. Don’t get distraught. Any effort you put into beautifying your home for the holidays will help spread cheer to all who see it. If you decorate with a joyful heart, then you’re doing it right. But just in case, buy a couple extra strings of lights.