Deck­ing the halls

The Covington News - - Sunday living -

I’m grin­ning sheep­ishly as I write to­day, be­cause I have a con­fes­sion to make. Last week, I wrote about how the Christ­mas carol “O Come, O Come Em­manuel” had in­spired me to em­brace a cer­tain de­gree of sim­plic­ity this hol­i­day sea­son.

I didn’t ex­actly lie to you guys — at the mo­ment I did feel in­spired to cel­e­brate a min­i­mal­ist Christ­mas. I hadn’t put much ef­fort into dec­o­rat­ing the house, and keep­ing things sim­ple felt like a log­i­cal, deeply spir­i­tual thing to do.

But when I started dig­ging through the boxes of dec­o­ra­tions and saw the gor­geous stuff I bought last year but had al­ready for­got­ten about, my in­ner Martha Ste­wart resur­faced with a vengeance. And I spent ev­ery free hour last week jazz­ing up our house for the hol­i­days.

Any­one heard of a Christ­mas Dec­o­ra­tor’s Anony­mous group nearby? Be­cause I might ought to join. I see tin­sel and gar­land and lit­tle sparkling lights and I just can’t help my­self. The world is my can­vas and I get a lit­tle crazy deck­ing the halls and any­thing else that will stand still long enough to be em­bel­lished.

My fa­ther-in-law, Don, is as bad as I am. His house was elab­o­rately dec­o­rated by Thanks­giv­ing, and he owns so many gi­ant in­flat­able yard or­na­ments that he shared his bounty with us.

Last week, our out­door Christ­mas dé­cor con­sisted of one teensy elf stand­ing alone on the front porch. This week, you have to strain your eyes to find the elf, be­cause he is dwarfed by the San­tas, snow­men and Christ­mas trees shar­ing the porch with him.

We have brightly col­ored lights along the roofline, and two six-foot-tall in­flat­able snow globes on the lawn. One has a mov­ing carousel in­side, and the other blows fake snow around the snow­men within the globe. Big in­flat­able words are set up be­side each snow globe: “Noel” and “Joy.”

And de­spite all of that, I’m up­set that my hubby didn’t get around to putting lights around the win­dows. We’re al­ready the bright­est, cra­zi­est-dec­o­rated house in the neigh­bor­hood. Ge­or­gia Power is go­ing to love us when our De­cem­ber bill comes due. But I still fret over that fi­nal miss­ing de­tail. If I weren’t ter­ri­fied of lad­ders and heights, I’d climb up there and trim the win­dows my­self.

And my ob­ses­sion with de­tail is ex­tend­ing to the kitchen. I wasn’t go­ing to make all of my tra­di­tional good­ies this year — you know, that sim­plic­ity thing again. But to­day I told some friends about my pep­per­mint bark. It’s an amaz­ing recipe; loaded with Andes mints and Bob’s soft su­gar candy canes, all crushed up in white chocolate. So of course I have to make a batch for them, and it’s just as easy to dou­ble the recipe. And the bark would be all lonely given by it­self, so I must do the fudge and the cracker candy, the haystacks and the fancy dipped pret­zel rods. And it wouldn’t feel like Christ­mas if I didn’t host an­other ginger­bread house party be­cause the kids had so much fun at ours last year. Who am I kid­ding? The chil­dren en­joyed them­selves, but I had a blast! I’d never made a ginger­bread house be­fore, and I can­not wait to make an­other one. Or two. Or ten. And a whole lit­tle ginger­bread fam­ily — with a gin­ger cat and a gin­ger dog and a gin­ger car and some­body please stop me be­fore I de­sign an en­tire ginger­bread city.

I guess that while the idea of sim­plic­ity sounds ap­peal­ing, it’s just not who I am. Some­times I grum­ble that every­one ex­pects all of this cre­ativ­ity out of me dur­ing the hol­i­days, but I have to be hon­est with my­self and face up to what shines back at me in the mir­ror. I’m a cre­ator at heart, and few oc­ca­sions pro­vide more of an out­let for those en­er­gies than Christ­mas.

Maybe sim­plic­ity isn’t an op­tion for some­one like me, be­cause it would mean ne­glect­ing the very gifts I was given upon my cre­ation. Maybe I’m more con­nected with my faith at the hol­i­days when I spread a lit­tle joy to the world by mak­ing things fun and pretty? Maybe, just maybe, it’s OK to be a lit­tle Christ­mas crazy.

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