When holidays collide: How to decorate the blended tree
COMMENTARY plenty challenging, but blending holiday décor is the topper on the tree. She wants the angel. He wants the star.
“The tree in a blended home can be very contentious,” said Mac Harman, owner of Balsam Brands, maker of artificial trees and all that goes with them. Both parties come to the threshold with boxes full of nostalgic sentiment and hearts full of expectations. But when holiday visions collide, joy flees like smoke up the chimney.
This is exactly why people started spiking the eggnog.
I was reminded of my lost nostalgic sentiment and dashed expectations recently while talking to a woman at a social event. After chatting a few minutes, she realized I wrote that quirky home column she read the newspaper. Our pleasant discussion took a turn. The expression on her face looked like she was experiencing a bad stomach cramp. Her eyes widened, and she cried, “Did your ex-husband really throw away all your Christmas decorations?”
“That was eight years ago,” I said.
“Who could forget?” she said. Clearly, not her. To her, losing all your Christmas decorations at once was on par with watching your house slide off a cliff with your family and dog inside.
Now my face was expressing flu-like symptoms. “That was rough,” I said. “But,” and I certainly couldn’t have said this then, “it was a blessing.”
I was moving out of my home in Colorado to Florida. I’d run out of room in the moving truck. So the Christmas boxes — the tree, its trimmings, the nutcrackers, the stockings, the … I can’t go on — remained on the driveway. My then-husband was staying behind in Colorado, moving to a smaller place, with limited storage. He would take the boxes for now, we agreed.
But when his moving day came, he had to make some cuts. I don’t blame him. It was a tough time.
“A blessing?” The woman was waiting, staring at me with a how-on-earth look.
Yes, a blessing.
See, that first Florida Christmas, when I was building my holiday back from scratch, I lived in a home I was staging to help sell. My tree needed to look not too personal or overdone. Not having any décor made that easy.
As I moved to five more staging projects, I felt grateful not to haul all those decorations, nor open a loaded box of ornaments that would go off like hand grenades detonating memories.
But the greatest blessing of all was not having to cull through the Ghosts of Christmases past with my new husband, DC, when we blended our homes four years ago.
While I am not recommending tossing all your holiday decorations when a relationship ends, I