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.