Our Christmas decorations look like hell.
But, they’re *my* hell. So, I keep putting them up even though they probably ought to be retired and even though I feel shimmer shamed every time a new Pottery Barn (or worse Restoration Hardware) catalog arrives at the house with the beautiful, themed decorations creating heirloom vignettes in every nook and cranny that any trust-fund child would be proud to have in his/her mansion.
There’s no rhyme or reason to my decorating scheme. Oh wait — yes, there is: It’s sheer sentimentality. I put up the Santa with the disturbing, plastic doll face and vaguely pubic-hairish white beard because my grandma bought it for me when I was born. I even still have the brown cardboard box she sent it in, with 1970 postage, to our Little Rock, Ark., air force base address at the time.
One shelf is full of “101 Dalmatians” toys that came with McDonald’s Happy Meals in 1996. Yeah, that vignette probably knocked five years off my husband’s life because I wanted them all so badly and we were newlyweds so he was trying to impress me so he ate at Mickey D’s every day for a solid month. Speaking of solid, so were his arteries. It was only after his cholesterol cracked Chris Christie territory that we found out you don’t actually have to buy food to get the toy. You can just buy the toy. I still appreciate the effort.
Our tree has some flashes of class — the matching crocheted doughnuts and jingle-bell balls — but a lot of it screams hobo… with no artistic talents. I still have the creepster clown with Styrofoam head and Life Saver roll body that I’ve had since I was a toddler, even though the candy must’ve gotten wet at one point because the body is sticky and a little caved in on one side. There’s the lace-covered cream ball with the beaded trim dangling off it… Wait a minute. Back up. Where is that one from? No one made it. That looks store-bought! No sentimental value to that thing. OK, that one for sure getting pulled off the tree.
Naturally I have all the ornaments the kids have made: the coffee-filter snowflake, the cardboard something-or-other, I can’t really tell, but it’s got a loooooot of glitter and beads. There’s some sort of Popsicle-stick house, scribbled with marker. They may look like crap to you, and they kind of do to me, too, but they’re also memories. Good ones.