Readers bristle at Christmas tree ‘mistakes’
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. marnijameson.com.
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.