Janetʼs household decorating is interesting and pleasurable. And not just for her. I do enjoy all her curious and intriguing creations although too often taking the stuff about the house merely for granted. Our Christmas frenzy has always seemed to me the most desperately futile, however, since it lasts so brief a time — Thanksgiving through New Yearʼs, and itʼs all gone. Well, not all. The Lovely One has always said she prefers seasonal, meaning winter, decorations to holiday, meaning “Christmas,” ornamentation*, so many elements of the Friday/Saturday/Sunday-after-Thanksgiving hooplah of domestic reorganization are meant to linger until the eventual eruption of spring. So todayʼs post gets us started on the hibernal house-trimming.
Well, actually, today I would like to discuss getting started with winter decorations. Usually, during the days before Thanksgiving, particularly on Wednesday evening, Janet likes to start removing all the fall décor, gathering the bits and pieces of prettification for storage until next year (or disposal if sheʼs had enough of some particular item). Often on that Wednesday, or like this year, at the latest, on Friday morning after the feast of thankfulness, I get to clamber a stepladder to the ceiling of the garage and bring down the empty containers for autumn frills and accessories along with the full ones of winter ornaments and the big heavy coffin-sized carton containing our (fake) Christmas tree (which resides alongside two elder trees no longer used).
Not all the Christmas stuff spends its off-season time in the attic, as The Lovely One has also taken possession of the large storage cabinets in the tiny room off the unfinished side of the basement which is supposedly my closet-cum-dumping area for my stuff she wants out of sight, so by the time I get the rest of the ornaments and such from above, she has already begun the process of scattering the winter decorations for distribution around the house (see the picture). Once Black Friday dawns, she gets hard at the work of redecorating for Christmas/winter.
(I do think that an extra click on the picture to the right is worth your time to see and I hope understand the, uh, situation created in the brief interim before the decorations find their perfect and beautiful ultimate, if temporary, wintertime locations. The antique — i.e. vintage 1982 — kitchen table is the one I had to clear of almost equally outmoded computer components in order to permit this particular, transitory state of undecoration to occur.)
When she used to labor as a travel agent, and during the first half-decade or a little more of her current job, Janet never had the day after Thanksgiving off work (apparently like everyone in contemporary retail). However, one year it dawned on her boss that at least two-thirds of his work force was finding annual excuses not to appear in the offices on Black Friday, so the company at last made it a regular holiday, providing my spouse with a three-day period to perform the hibernal enhancement of our home. Days which she now uses to their utmost. Days which I treasure, as I now donʼt have to do all of my parts of the job in one exhaustive Saturday (plus thereʼs currently no stringing lights through the Christmas “tree,” it being, as I already revealed once, “prelit”) — so the holiday preparations are more low-key, de-stressed and pleasant than in some earlier years). Days which will yield the wonders, eye candy and spectacle I have reserved for tomorrow… and tomorrow… and tomorrow…
Well, not entirely. She begins with the basement, hiding (although not fully disguising) my multitudes of books behind various wintry/Christmasy items, including my large-format copies of A Christmas Carol (a favorite of mine since early childhood when I memorized a Ronald Coleman rendition of the story from nearly inch-thick — Iʼm exaggerating, twenty-first century children — 78-rpm vinyl platters; perhaps a true highlight of retirement so far was receiving my chance to play Scrooge onstage with PPP last fall**). I donʼt think she appreciates it when I choose during some years to read the informative (not just decorative) AnnotatedTM edition. Every shelf and most nooks and crannies of our family room receive appropriate winter treatment, as you will see in tomorrowʼs photos.
Once I have assembled the tree, carefully shaping the unfolded branches (a time-consuming and ultimately tedious task), we work together, usually with beverage in hand, to distribute the numerous unique and unusual commemorative ornaments on the tree. This year the tree-trimming consumed Saturday evening, following her regular phone visit with her sister (when I got the artificial fir assembled and ready to go), so it was really a relaxing experience. Now I just have to remember to plug in the tree every evening for us to ignore nightly as we eat and watch TV (and prepare myself mentally to reduce it all to boxed bric-a-brac for storage come January 1, or maybe even sooner this year).
Well, I appear to have a full post here, so the photos of the family room — aside from the tree — will have to wait until tomorrow…
And of course, there are plenty of rooms to go, so I have reserved to the future at least two, perhaps more, posts on winter decorations ahead.
* …just as she decorates for fall, decidedly not for Halloween.
** I even began teaching the brief book with Advanced English as a way to quickly shoehorn in a taste of Dickens (later along with Conan Doyle/Sherlock Holmes — much to my pleasure, regardless how many idle AHS adolescents shoddily chose not to read the stave-a-night assignments). Why do kids enroll in an elective literature class if they donʼt want to read?
Do click the photos for larger visions!
©2010 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A