Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Define "Deck"

It's not that Christmas decorating is a ridiculous amount of work. 

It's not that Christmas decorating is a ridiculous amount of work that you do over one weekend and then completely un-do three weekends later.

It's that around here Christmas decorating is a ridiculous amount of work which, upon completion, looks like someone opened a craft store on an artillery range.

Welcome to my Tuesday.

I woke up this morning in a full-core anxiety attack, complete with heart palpitations and the absolute conviction that if, at any time over the next four weeks, I found myself trapped in a Chilean mine, the church ladies would show up at my home, take one look at what passes for 'festive,' and spirit my family away to a safe house.

And then just cork up the mine.

The Bins o' Comfort and Joy have been out of the garage since Saturday, and my kids made a stab at setting up and decorating the artificial tree (whose guts I totally hate) and wrapping the lighted artificial pine garland (ditto on the gut-hating) around the banister.

But then Vanessa went back to school, and the two younger ones were left in the diabolical hands of their mother, who possesses all the natural decorating instincts of tar paper.

So the bins just sat there for a couple of days, a Rubbermaid monument to ineptitude and gross failure of imagination, until this morning, when the whole 'Chilean mine' thing came up.

I would like to think that the problem is that I just don't care enough.  "I'm creative in other ways," the most delusional of my head voices tells the others.  "If I really put my mind to it, I'd have this place a-glow.  I simply choose not to."

But these days the other head voices aren't buying it.  "Shut up," they suggest to the first head voice.  "You know perfectly well that Martha Stewart could pull a giant bus into our front yard, send us on a Disney cruise for a week, and overhaul every wall and horizontal surface in our house.  And within twenty-four hours of our return, all the pictures would be hanging by their corners and the fake ficus trees would have Dutch Elm Disease."

My sisters seem to have gotten my portion of decorating DNA.  I don't know where I was standing when they were all signing up for that particular talent, but I'm sure it was near the refreshments.  Honestly, you could hand Jill three tube socks, a Magic Marker, and half a cup of lima beans, and in ninety minutes her living room would be the centerfold for "Why the Rest of You are Losers Monthly."  Kim is every bit as skilled; even her bathrooms are outfitted in holiday-appropriate toilet paper cozies.

(Note: I've never been in Amber's house at Christmas time, as she was nine years old when I got married and something like 13 when I left Utah for parts north, then tropical, then intergalactic.  But I have no doubt that she's in league with the other two, once again leaving me out of the "cool sisters" club, a club I confidently started back when there was just one of us.)

At any rate, I've spent much of the day strategically tipping bins, hoping that whatever was in them would land in a Holly-Jolly position or at least upright.  In DeNae-land, baby Jesus was visited by Yukon Cornelius and Rudolph; the Abominable Snow Monster of the North sits astride a  camel, who is remarkably unfazed given the circumstances.  The stockings are clinging to the mantle with not much more than a "good luck" offering to the Gods of Vertical Suspension, and that hateful white quilt batting that in other homes says 'snow' but in mine suggests 'rabies' is fused to anything that couldn't outrun it.

All told, I'm pretty pleased.

Frankly, I've concluded that since I admitted defeat in the decorating smackdown, and broke up with Christmas music a couple of years ago, and am such a notoriously bad shopper I once left an IOU in my son's stocking, all I'm really here for any more is the food.

Now, if I could only remember which bin I stored the fudge in...


M-Cat said...

A girl after my own heart!

Becca said...

Is this a hint? Is it time to sing Fudge Carols?

T said...

you know, when Elder Uchdorf (shoot, I probably spelled that wrong... bah, he'll never know right?) spoke last conference about simplifying our lives I immediately thought of decorating for the various holidays... and decided it just can't be one of the things that matter most. (that... and I'm just a tad on the lazy side...)

and... can you tell I'm over my whole ellipses avoidance issue?

Molly Doe said...

I'm having a hard time decorating too. I was in the mood 3 weeks ago, I don't know where the motivation went. (maybe it's in my condo, I'll get it back when I'm thinking I should have done it when I felt the desire. Oh well.

Garden of Egan said...

I am sorry deNae, but you will have a hard time finding anything tackier than what I have vomited....I mean decorated today.
My last boss used to make it a tradition to drive around with her husband to see who had the ugliest decorations (being the Christian that she is) . I think they are on there way over.
Really, one good look at my house and you would be handing ME the fudge.

Kazzy said...

Just make it sound all post-modern and call it "minimalism". That's what I do. :)

And any Christmas spent with you would be happy and fun, so the decorations are totally extra.

Momza said...

My motto is:
Keep It Simple Stupid.

I have found that the more I fuss with holiday decorations, the more my hillbilly, redneck, silver-bell-earrings-wearin' inner self is revealed.
So, we have a tree, a wreath, and when I can guilt Mr. W into it via the kids' pleadings, we get some lights on the front of the house too. But the rest of it is better left to the Martha Stewart wanna-bes of the world. And I'm okay with that.
Enjoy your fudge!

Saimi said...

Sorry girls but I'm not feeling it like you are! I love decorating for Christmas. I love the lights and the tree, I love the Christmas music and of course the food.

I love everything about Christmas, I even love the hustle and bustle of the shopping.

But most of all I love the Spirit of Christmas.

Now go and deck the halls!

Katherine said...

The last couple of years, if anyone comments on the decorations, I blame (I mean credit) my 4 and 8 year old sons.

Patty Ann said...

Oh, I am so the same way. I can not decorate worth a hill of beans. It breaks my heart to go in someone's home that is totally amazing and they have six little kids running around and all their laundry is done, their tree is in the middle of the living room, the ornaments are color coded and organized, and they bake homemade goodies everyday to give to all their neighbors! (Why oh why can't I live next door to them!) My house is undecorated, I will be extremely lucky to get the tree up within the next week or so, and it will probably be the first of February before I take it down!

Melanie said...

You should take more pictures, and send fudge! On a side note, I just marked your book as "to read" on Goodreads, can't wait!

Jess said...

Im all about the KISS method myself as well..... at least you tried... and didnt leave everything sitting in the bins.. lol..

Jessica said...

My mom came for a visit and set up the entire house and the outside. Awesomely elfie of her.

On a side note, I've already made your fudge recipe once (minty & yummy) and ate it all. That is truly the way to start the holidays.

Andrea said...

I have one bin for Christmas (including lights). It took about 5 minutes to decorate, which included bringing the bin out of storage. The dh didn't even notice we decorated.
I like it. Simple. Easy.

HailerStar said...


"In DeNae-land, baby Jesus was visited by Yukon Cornelius and Rudolph; the Abominable Snow Monster of the North sits astride a camel, who is remarkably unfazed given the circumstances."

Made my morning!


A random girl who stumbled across your blog a few months ago and returns every few weeks to see what hilarity has ensued.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

Who says our decorating has to be magazine worthy? My kids color pictures all month and tape them all over my walls. I think scribbled baby Jesus understands.

I say decorate however the heck you want. Who cares if you're the only one who likes it? :)

InkMom said...

I'd be happy if I could just remember which bin I left your fudge RECIPE in. And because of said fudge, I have officially removed the batteries from my bathroom scale. That's festive, right?

We're in the process of negotiating (yes, I mean that. My husband has far too many opinions about decorating issues.) a furniture purchase in our living room. Considering that we have an officially designated "gallery wall" for the copious quantities of art produced by my creative geniuses, I'm not sure what the big deal is. And this all just serves to explain why I don't worry about decor. At all. It's all going to be A. broken or B. worn out before anyone comes to my house on a social call anyway, so what's the worry? The people who really love me, will still really love me. Especially if I keep being the me they've known all along, the one who only decorates for holidays (with the Christmas tree pilgrimage exception) by failing to remove dead plants and spider webs from the front porch just in time for Halloween.

DeNae said...

It's great to see so many old friends over here again! M-Cat and InkMom, nice to see you! And new friends, too. Goodness, I can't keep getting so busy I don't have time to invite you all over.

Saimi, bless you for carrying the torch. I absolutely adore Christmas decorations; I'm just no good at putting them up. It's folks like you that get my family out every year to ooo and aah over the pretty lights before returning to the Grinch Cave.

HailerStar, there is no such thing as a random visitor over here. I'm happy to have all of you! Make yourself at home.

Momza, I'd be more convinced about your KISS philosophy if I didn't know you were an interior decorator by trade! I imagine you're like my sisters: Simply Perfect. Whereas my version of it is Simply Certifiable.

seashmore said...

Thanks for a much-needed laugh.

I've given up on Christmas music, too. "Do you hear what I hear?" Unfortunately, yes. It's the same 5 songs by 300 different recording artists.

And if it makes you feel any better, my first Christmas tree topper was a Santa hat from the grocery store.

AS Amber said...

You were waiting by the refreshments and I was waiting for someone to get the gene for me. Being the littlest and all. I still don't have a tree up. There is still the pumpkin thing sitting on my stereo speaker that Hayden got out a couple months ago when he decided we needed to be more festive. There's two real pumpkins sitting on my front porch.

So, no, sister. I am not like the other two. Or our mother. Her house is all decked, too. (Although I did help her do that.)

This was seriously hilarious! Love you!

JoeinVegas said...

Sorry, I ate all the fudge. I'll make more.

The Crash Test Dummy said...

Must see pictures! Need photographic evidence.

Okay, I'm going to go into Amber's house for you and let you know.

So, did you meet your word count?

Stacey said...

Thanks for the giggle. See, I got smart. I married a man who can decorate. You should see our tree. It's a thing of beauty. It's artwork. And I don't have to do a dang thing. It works quite well for me!

The Crash Test Dummy said...

I read the MB blog to find out the "news" but it must be personal. I'm worried about them. I'm buying the fleece tomorrow to make the quilt. I'm going with football theme.

LY! When I finish it I'll need their address.

How weird. Your verifier says fullymb

Fully (on board the) Matthew Blanchard train.

Cheeseboy said...

The Disney cruise sounds nice. How much does Martha charge for such a service?

This is exactly the reason I left up my Christmas lights on the house from last year. simplify.

BTW, the word verification below is "jewifcation".

annie valentine said...

This is insanity. You're just asking to be haunted by the ghost of Martha Stewart past/present/and future.

Missed you DESPERATELY tonight.

Karen Peterson said...

It's not that I can't decorate. It's that it doesn't particularly interest me. I wish I could just afford to pay someone to deck my halls. Then my house would be far more spirited.

L.T. Elliot said...

I totally missed out on the decorating gene too. My sisters and mother make Martha Stewart look like a hack and I keep her in business.

*le sigh* This is why I'm ever grateful for last year's fudge recipe from you because it's about all that's keeping me from a full assault on all things "jolly." Unless it's a rancher.

The Atomic Mom said...

Am I bad? I'm not even getting out one Christmas and/or holiday decoration this year. I am feeling rather liberated truthfully!

Jen said...

Good Heavens! I want to sit down with you in a winter wasteland and eat fudge. I've often wondered what will happen when my children reach that magical age when decorating the tree isn't fun anymore because they're the only ones who do it at my house. I hauled out the two (count 'em) bins of decor (includes the artificial, pre-lit tree) and told the 7 and 4-year-old to have at it. I came back an hour later and said it was good. That is as festive as I get--all year. The other holidays are completely naked here. Who wants to store and move all that crap! God bless you for this post. You made my Christmas.