Despite having shit loads of Uni work, I thought I would try and do a series of posts each day about the bahhumbuggness of christmas to go with my new seasonal background.
Day 2 – Decorations
When I was a wee badger pup, I used to delight at being driven through the suburbs to wherever it was we were going. Moreso when it was Christmastide. I would gaze out of the window with wide eyes eager to espy illuminated windows bedecked with Christmas decorations.
Back in the 1970’s and 80’s it was like some advent calendar. You knew Christmas was coming because more and more houses would look festive each night. From the very rare one toward the beginning of the month, to the sudden explosion about a week before the special specific day.
Since then, like a rash, it seems that some are excited about the big day in November and the once eager countdown has turned from a “count the tree!” into a “Spot the Christmas victim” sport.
But I touched on illuminations yesterday, so today I am going indoors.
My Nan had the best Christmas decorations ever. I have some of the ones that haven’t disintegrated still. My favorite is a cardboard cut out of Santa on his sleigh over arced by the words “HAPPY CHRISTMAS”, it has a sister, that of a cardboard cut out of Santa in his airplane over arced by the words “MERRY CHRISTMAS”. Simple. effective. Still with stubborn remains of glitter clinging on. There is also a small bag of garlands. Not any ordinary garland mind. None of this tinsel stuff. These are brightly coloured PAPER GARLANDS!
Ah the simple things.
These days however, houses seem to spend a lot on decorations. Either that or the festive decoration business is very lucrative. Everything seems to appear to have some kind of organic feel to it. Even the fake stuff. Garlands of green swathing stairways, posh looking real trees and even plastic pseudo trees that would convince even Percy Thrower from a distance.
What’s wrong with the tatty tinsel? The crap baubles with their lacquer coming off? Or the cheap looking flue brush Christmas tree in the corner? Why bother with all the expense of new decorations? My Nan’s had clearly lasted since before the war with a small top up some time in the 60’s. Nothing extravagant. Just basic. And yet still looking like you’re doing your part.
But no. Because designers need to earn a crust, new concepts in the latest decoration styles come forth. It’s like redesigning spoons and encouraging people to buy different spoons depending on the flavour yogurt they’re eating. Decorations don’t go tacky. They might get damaged yes, but they don’t go tacky. It is YOUR PERCEPTION that makes them tacky, spurred on by the fashion industries in an effort to generate more income for themselves. Now I can’t blame them for that. After all if we’re all gullible enough to follow new trends then good on whosoever makes a crust out of that narcissism. But a tree is a tree. Convincing or not. A string of green tinsel is a string of green tinsel. Flame retardant or not. A bauble a bauble – child friendly or not.
So this year, if you are tempted to buy new decorations. Save money. Use the ones you already have. Don’t throw the old ones away. Keep them. Use them every year ad nauseam. Until you are in your 70’s and you can pass them on to a governmentally approved young person (providing you’ve been checked out of course).
Of course, you could go down the other route. The “Don’t bother” route.
Before I digressed I was writing about the Christmas tree spotting occasions I used to take part in. Of course, living in an ethnically diverse place such as Liverpool, there were quite a few houses that didn’t bedeck in gaiety. This confused me because I wanted to know why Mr & Mrs Singh* didn’t have decorations ups and I also wanted to know why Mr & Mrs Goldstienburg* didn’t seem to bother either. Of course I wasn’t allowed to ask them as this was the 1970’s/80’s and even looking at people who had different creeds and beliefs was unthinkable. After all you might catch something.
Aside from the Singhs and the Goldstienburgs there was the mysterious Joneses*. They seemed like an ordinary couple. Dog, house, cars, both were teachers but they seemed to lack decorations at Christmas. I thought the reason why they didn’t dress their house up was because they didn’t have children. So as they didn’t have children Father Christmas had no right being there so why would they try to tempt him in with decorations? Logical thinking no?
As my years went on and I moved away, I became aware that other people didn’t bother with decorations. It became apparent that some would dread the annual scuffle to find a box of musty smelling balls of tinsel; bedeck; sit surrounded by it all; take it down 3 weeks later.
And why not! Who wouldn’t. So think about it. You’re going to mooch about in a dusty attic, damp cellar, rank shed, cluttered cupboard. Take all the boxes of decorations out. Spend the entire day sticking up bits of cheap crap around your accommodation in an attempt to make yourself feel festive for a couple of weeks. You’ll find that some lights wont work, you’ll find bits of tinsel have some how become entwined with each other. You’ll find bits of stuff you had forgotten about from the previous year. You might even find that smelly Aunt last seen in the corner sipping sherry the previous Christmas.
Then 3 weeks later, you’ll have to take it all down again. Stuff it back into boxes, return your Aunt to the nursing home and some how muster up the arsedness to stuff it all back in the place you got it from. I mean really….CAN YOU BE ARSED?
Do what I do. Don’t bother.