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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Sharing, Caring, Merry, And Joy--No, Not The Four Lost Dwarfs, But Some Key Words For The Holidays

Pressure Busting Tip #15
I don't even remember how it happened.  Maybe she saw it someplace else and liked it.  Maybe she used it on the one at the bank, where she worked.  Maybe it was on sale at a ridiculously low price at Hill's Department store next to the bank, and she couldn't resist it.  No matter; all I know is, one year my mother decided to add tinsel garland to our Christmas tree, and once it made its appearance, nothing budged it.  It didn't matter that we four kids thought it was "ugly and stupid and dripped all over all the ornaments."  Mom liked it.  Our appeals to Dad went unheeded.  "Your mother likes it," was all he said.  And since Mom put on all the lights and all the garland anyway, he knew he didn't have a vote, either.  For years and years, we had never had anything but a nice glazing of tinsel strands.  And we liked it fine.  Now this!  And my mother, all five feet three inches of her, had to stand on a kitchen chair and use a notched yardstick to drape the stuff artfully over the branches.  "It's just a lot of extra work for that junky thing," we crabbed.  To my mother's credit, that was the one thing she held the line on, probably in her entire career as our mother.  But honestly, no one liked it but her.  Couldn't she have given in a little?

Keep St. Patsy's garland in mind when you consider Pressure Busting Tip #15.  When it comes to decorating, take turns and/or allow some eclecticism.  One of my Dearest Readers emailed me and related to me a very poignant personal story about how decorating the family tree was enough to cause bouts of hyperventilating and real fright.  The worry and fear of hanging the ornaments in the wrong places; the ensuing criticism from a parent; the feeling of failure, all were enough to ruin Christmases for years and years later.  How sad is that?  Don't take the joy out of Christmas for yourself or anyone in your household.  At the very least, just do what I used to do:  move a few ornaments later, once everyone has gone to bed.  Don't fight about whether it's to be an angel or a star at the treetop.  Grab a small mason jar, fill it with M&Ms.  Have the two sides guess how many M&Ms are in the jar.  Then count them in front of the factions.  The winning side gets its choice for the treetopper.  The losing side gets the M&Ms.  Kind of win-win!  And so what if the kids want to add a few non-traditional figures to the nativity scene?  Do you mean to tell me that Baby Jesus wouldn't want Mickey Mouse, Elmo, and a Hot Wheel at his birthday party? Duh.  Remember, the saying is "Merry Christmas."  Loosen up and make merry.

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5 comments:

  1. I say, Yay St. Patsy! Stand your ground. If she's anything like the majority of the moms around the world, she did most of the work in the house, and she probably thought, "I want this ONE DAMN THING, and DAMN IT, I'm going to HAVE IT."

    The email you shared is heartbreaking, though. I think if that were me I would just skip trees altogether. But then, other people come along and want a tree, and you can't deny them, and then the next thing you know, those feelings arise. Blech.

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  2. J@jj--I will pass along your support to St. Patsy. Her first reaction will be, "Now, how come you put that on your blog? Just to crab about it some more?"

    I agree--that email is upsetting to think about. But a great deal of people have some pretty negative memories associated with Christmas. Part of the purpose of these tips is to hopefully alleviate or prevent some from occurring or continuing.

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  3. Our big negative thing for years has been how much time (& WHEN) to spend with our two sides of the family (and I'm pretty sure we've already covered this on your blog, but here I am riled up again!). So much stress every year which I always took on as my very own & mostly ate away (the good thing about being a stress eater at Christmas is that there's always plenty to eat!). Now that both of our mom's are gone that has somewhat abated, but not entirely. I've decided however, that I'm almost 50 dammit & I'm NOT going to agonize over this!

    About the decor: I don't care. If Mike wants a tree I'll happily decorate it so that he can move the ornaments around (he likes to have a basic framework to work from) & if he doesn't want a tree then I'm ok with that too.

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  4. Bug--The Holidays can be your Independence Days! And, as we keep saying, don't make Christmas a less-than-joyful holiday. Be merry! It will be okay.

    What happened to your lovely little Norway pine/spruce live tree in a pot that you got last year? Didn't it make it?

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  5. Oh I'm so sad about the tree! We went away for a week for vacation this summer & when we got back it was dead. We think maybe Mike over-watered it in anticipation of being gone because the soil was still really wet :(

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Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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