Jac: So, have you done any Christmas decorating? Do you decorate for Christmas?
Juli: Why, yes! Yes we do. And we have to make the decorating look GREAT, because it will be up until February. You?
Jac: Yes, and I was actually excited about it for once because we finally have a house that didn’t feel super cluttered already, before decorating. So we took our six decorations and we put them on shelves … Done! Here is an example of classic Jac Christmas prep: we made one of those paper-chain “Count-down to Christmas” thingys. We made it on, like, November 20. But then we threw it on top of the bookshelf “temporarily” while we tried to figure out where to hang it. It is still there.
How Jac’s family decorates. By throwing a bunch of Christmas things on the top of the bookshelf.
Juli: I love it! And when you find it again, it will be time to throw it out!
Jac: And just where am I supposed to hang it? Because G and E want to be able to reach it, but N and R must NOT reach it or they will rip it apart.
Juli: Well, the answer to that is obviously nowhere. You can hang it nowhere. And I should clarify. When I say our decorations have to be “great,” I mean great by our standards. This usually amounts to a wreath on the door, and a gentle sprinkling of Cheerios on the floor.
Jac: Of course you have a wreath on the door. How charming! Your cute little neighbourhood is probably full of door wreaths.
Juli: Our neighbourhood actually has a Christmas Decorations contest every year! We do not come close to winning. We have fun joking about how we will not win, though!
Jac: Of course it does. Is this about outdoor decorations? Like lights? We have definitely not hung our lights. We are SO LAME about lights. We do just enough to be able to say we have them. Because it’s always so cold out when we go to hang them up! Who has time to make them straight?
Juli: People in my neighbourhood, apparently, because yes, it’s outdoor decorations. We like to pretend that we leave our grass long on purpose, not giving it that last fall mow that it needs, because of Christmas! Because green is a Christmas colour! And we just have a few measly strings of lights up. It’s pitiful, really. But if Spence is reading this: looks great, honey!
Jac: Ha! Right. Anton does ours too. He KNOWS it looks bad. He doesn’t care if I tell him so, because we are a team. And that was last year, of course, because this year: nothing. But remember? We’re the ones who got literally zero trick-or-treaters. We don’t exactly have people to see the lights.
Juli: Do you guys do a real tree or a fake one?
Juli: It’s real? And spectacular?
Jac: We even went all together to pick one out this year! And cut it! With a SAW. The whole experience, including hot chocolate, took us 15 minutes. How about you guys?
Juli: Wow! What? I’m impressed. Ours is a fake tree that we got for free. And every year, Spence and the kids go up to the attic and bring it down, with great pomp and circumstance, as though they have just come from the woods with a newly chopped tree. And I stand in the kitchen and ooh and ahh. This is the ritual. And then…
Jac: And then you cheerfully decorate it together, listening to Christmas music, and drinking hot cocoa? And then the kids happily go to bed, and you and Spence sit by the fire in the light of the tree drinking hot toddies.
Juli: Oh, hell no. Our kids always fight over who gets to hang which decorations. And S likes to take out all of the ornaments and become attached to them. They become her “babies,” and then it becomes difficult to ask her to “hang” her babies on the tree, as you can imagine.
Jac: Classic S.
Here the Christmas minx is adopting all of those ornaments, giving them nonsensical names and making them her “babies.” She would be at this for hours, if Juli let her.
Juli: This problem is better than the problem we had when she was eighteen months old, and took one of my great-grandma’s old teardrop-shaped glass ornaments out of the box, put it in her mouth and bit it.
Jac: NO WAY! That’s the worst!
Juli: And it shattered of course, and I spent the next half hour with a flashlight in her mouth taking out pieces of glass. Amazingly, she swallowed none of it. But, that was an adventure. You have a baby … How do you guys decorate your tree?
Jac: We just decorated it while she was sleeping. And then every day we periodically pick up the balls off the floor and put them in a basket.
Juli: Nice. A decorative basket o’ balls! Classy.
This was after two days of Christmas-tree ownership.
Jac: Right? And then we “put them back up” in the evening. We have yet to do that. The basket is full. Very full. We also have a picture frame someone gave us that plays “we wish you a merry christmas” when you spin the little snowman.
Juli: Oh dear.
Jac: The picture in it, which is the best I could do, is a picture of me and Anton and our three children. In the sunshine in our summer clothes. Baby N LOVES it. I wonder next year she’ll notice she’s missing from it?
Juli: Ha ha! Does it drive you crazy with it’s endless playing of that song?
Jac: You’d think it would. But N has been exceptionally whiney lately, so I much prefer the annoying song to her annoyingly following me around and crying, which is the other option.
Juli: Well, that is absolutely understandable. We have a few ornaments that I really hate, which I try to hide, but somehow the kids always find them and display them prominently on the tree.
Jac: Yes, they always like the uglies in the front.
Juli: Oh yes. The headless elves, the gaudy snowmen, the ornament that was a gift from a relative of Spence’s—for our first Christmas together. On it my name is spelled wrong. But at least they didn’t get the name totally wrong—like put an ex-girlfriend on there, or something.
Jac: Is it breakable? I mean, so you can drop it?
Juli: Oh no. If it was breakable, I would have “solved” that problem long ago.
Juli: Well, I think we can probably agree on the very BEST thing about Christmas decorations: you never have to dust them, because they are temporary. Also because I never dust.
Jac: Right. Just shove those dusty things back into the box and put them in the attic till the next year! Merry not-Christmas-anymore to us!