Friday, December 01, 2006


I can be laidback about some things (see: dog hair on floor, presence of; vegetables in children’s diet, absence of). But there are Rules about Christmas Trees, and they cannot be broken, at least in my house. (Whatever you want to do at your house is cool with me, especially if you are serving Champagne and eggnog.)

1. None of this artificial business. The tree has to be real. Yes, I know I will be picking up needles, and probably finding them in my son’s diaper too, long past Valentine’s day (oh, and they have to be short needles – not those long silky kind). Yes, I know it’s a hassle to wrestle it on top of the car, through the front door, and into the tree stand. I know there are fake trees that look very real. But you will never, ever, ever convince me to have one in my house.
1a. Corollary: Proper scheduling. Fake trees can go up anytime, but a real tree must be purchased, decorated, and disposed of in a more reasonable time frame. There is no need to follow the lead of the department stores and put up the tree in October. It should go up on or about December 10 and be out on the curb by New Year’s Day.

2. This is my living room, not the Sunset Strip. White or colored lights are both acceptable, but there must be no flashing. Lights must be small, plain bulbs, not huge reindeer or chili peppers or any other funky shape. Ornaments should most certainly not require batteries to power lights, music, fog machines or any other "special" effect.

3. Ornaments must be one-of-a-kind. No generic packages of 12 multicolored balls or 24 icicles or 6 of those weird upside-down ice-cream cone thingies. (I will make an exception for candy canes—if they are edible.) Ornaments should be fun, interesting, homemade, acquired for a reason or received as a gift. They should commemorate vacations, new babies, new homes, hobbies or jobs. And no tinsel!

4. Decorating is a family affair. Everyone must go together to pick out the tree; everyone must help drag the boxes of ornaments and other goodies from the basement; everyone must help put the ornaments on the tree. And everyone must listen to Bing Crosby’s Christmas album.

5. Enjoy it! Every night before bed, turn off all the lights except the ones on the tree. Squint a little so everything’s all twinkly. Admire, and go to bed dreaming of Harry Connick, Jr.

- - - - -

Mayberry Mom lives in the Midwest with a husband, a preschooler, and a toddler who's sure to be an Evergreen Menace this holiday season.


Blogger Kristi said...

Great post. I am with you on all of these, except we generally dispose of our tree the weekend after New Year's, since New Year's Day means a big ol' family dinner at my grandma's with no time for anything else. And as for ornaments, my mom started a collection for us the year we were born. One special ornament for both me and my sister, each year, and it continues today, 30 years later. It's wonderful to unpack my childhood ornaments each year, and remember why a ballet slipper ornament was significant when I was 7, or why a tiny little drum meant something when I was 11. I plan on doing this with Ella too.

8:21 AM  
Blogger M said...

I think I break most of your rules...I posted about it on my blog...and left some pcitures for you too.

9:19 AM  
Blogger Momma The Magnificant said...

How completely sweet. Your post on red and how it meant the conception of your child and the meeting of your husband was justto sweet for words!

9:23 AM  
Blogger Kara said...

mmm.. Harry Connick.

10:25 AM  
Blogger Binky said...

Oh, my--if we used only one-of-a-kind ornaments, our first few Christmases as a married couple and then as a family would have been meager, indeed. It takes a while to build up a stock of ornaments with stories behind them! Until we get to that point, my KMart Special 12-to-a-pack ornaments are going to have to fill in the blanks :)

11:20 AM  
Blogger Amy Jo said...

I couldn't agree more!

12:56 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

We always turn off all our lamps at night, too and just sit around in the glow of the Christmas tree. As far as the tree goes, I know, I know, you are sooo right. My whole life I've had a real tree, and then babies started happening and hubby and I wimped out and bought a fake one. But I'm totally with ya on the blinking lights and special ornaments. Our fake tree might be cheesy, but we haven't totally cheesed out and strung blinking lights. No, we left that to our new neighbors who strung Griswold-style lights 2 weeks before Thanksgiving.

2:20 PM  
Blogger Run ANC said...

Wow. I think we have the EXACT same rules about Christmas trees. It's eerie. Ive been a little lax on the "no buying packages of ornaments" rule because I am still building our family collection, and I don't like the tree to be too bare. But they will disappear as our personal ornament selection grows!

2:47 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Number 5 is my favorite - I love to look at my tree with the lights all on right before bed. It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling :)

Of course, the night before when I look at the tree with all the presents underneath (presents I spent all night wrapping!) I get so excited I can't sleep at all! It's just like being a kid again.

6:42 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

I'm with you on the lights. Mini lights and no blinking. The blinking makes me think of a bar.

10:52 PM  
Blogger Alex Elliot said...

I love the rules! If you wait until right before Christmas, you can get trees really cheap(not that I would know or anything :) Every year I get an ornament that represents what my son, now sons, were for Halloween.

12:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to laugh on the ornaments -- I'm like that -- although I love to do a weird theme tree.

I did a "Waffle House" Christmas tree one year -- made all the ornaments myself... :)

1:21 PM  
Blogger LBA said...

Oops !!
I think I broke every one of your rules !! yikes !!

Although .. I have .. no tinsel .. or flashing lights/gimmicks.

Go easy on me :)

11:40 PM  

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