Read­ers bris­tle at Christ­mas tree ‘mis­takes’

The Oklahoman - - REAL ESTATE - Marni Jame­son [email protected] marni­jame­

All right. All right. All right al­ready. So my col­umn a few weeks ago about “Seven Christ­mas tree mis­takes (and their fixes)” went over with many of you like a lead or­na­ment.

Boy, did I hear from read­ers. Even my hus­band said I’d stepped in rein­deer doo.

“A Christ­mas tree is not sup­posed to im­press those on the out­side,” he said. “It’s to im­press those on the in­side, and that means hang­ing a lit­tle or­na­men­tal sen­ti­ment.”

Here’s a sam­pling from my mail­bag, which, in sum, says: Marni, you can keep your con­cept de­signer tree, thank you.

I just read your ar­ti­cle on Christ­mas tree dec­o­rat­ing mis­takes, and was re­ally taken aback by the com­ments on “hap­haz­ard” and “lone ranger” trees. Why is it con­sid­ered a dec­o­rat­ing mis­take to have a tree that re­flects your fam­ily his­tory or mem­o­ries?

In my home, dec­o­rat­ing the Christ­mas tree is a won­der­ful fam­ily tra­di­tion. Hang­ing the dif­fer­ent or­na­ments we’ve ac­quired over the years ... al­ways sparks happy con­ver­sa­tion and fond mem­o­ries. I have no prob­lem with any­one who wants to have a themed Christ­mas tree. But please don’t call it a mis­take if you don’t have a “con­cept” for your Christ­mas tree or it doesn’t match your home decor.

— Diane Guth­mann, San Jose, Cal­i­for­nia

I so en­joy your weekly columns filled with dec­o­rat­ing ideas, hu­mor and fam­ily life, but your re­cent tree dec­o­rat­ing piece of­fended me. You used the word “per­func­tory” to re­fer to an an­gel or star as a tree top­per.

Per­haps you have for­got­ten the true mean­ing of Christ­mas. The an­gel hov­ered over the manger. The star lit the way for the three kings. That is the Christ­mas story, and those sym­bols will never be su­per­fi­cial or rou­tine to me.

— Judy Watts, Me­tairie, Lou­i­si­ana

And fi­nally …

Oh, not to of­fend you, but the whole ar­ti­cle was ridicu­lous. I’m go­ing to dec­o­rate my tree with the or­na­ments my son made 35 years ago in pre-school even if it doesn’t go with my “theme,” be­cause it’s the mem­o­ries not the “theme” that mat­ter.

— Mary Jane, no city

So I will wear the hair Santa suit, and of­fer this re­trac­tion and re­vised ad­vice:

To call a fam­ily Christ­mas tree dec­o­rated with a life­long col­lec­tion of or­na­ments a mis­take is wrong. It’s sim­ply pref­er­ence. I’m sorry.

The fun­da­men­tal ques­tion here is: Do you want a tree that looks good or a tree that feels good? I be­lieve you can have both.

Per­son­ally, I will al­ways pre­fer a Christ­mas tree dec­o­rated with a sure hand, and I be­lieve you can have one that is beau­ti­ful and mean­ing­ful. Here’s how: Have an un­der­pin­ning of shiny ball or­na­ments in one or two col­ors, weave in fes­tive rib­bon, and on top of that over­lay all your sen­ti­men­tal or­na­ments.

As DC and I ap­proach our third mar­ried Christ­mas, we don’t have decades of stored mem­o­ries to­gether to share. How­ever, we’re mak­ing those mem­o­ries now, and have agreed that our kids, their kids, our trav­els and our pas­sions will all be re­flected on our tree for years to come.

Merry Christ­mas to all those who cel­e­brate, and thank ev­ery one of you who teach me more than I teach you. Syn­di­cated colum­nist Marni Jame­son is the au­thor of three home and life­style books, in­clud­ing “Down­siz­ing the Fam­ily Home: What to Save, What to Let Go” (Ster­ling Pub­lish­ing). You may reach her at www. marni­jame­


This crown or­na­ment, which the au­thor and her hus­band picked up on a re­cent trip to Eng­land’s Tower of Lon­don, forms the foun­da­tion for a tree that will evolve over years to re­flect their newly blended fam­ily, trav­els and pas­sions. Co­or­di­nat­ing rib­bon and red or­na­ments give the tree unity.

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