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The Hapless Househusband Tries Decorating the House for Christmas...

Updated on December 15, 2011

Leave The Leaves Outside...

Like most guys, I go through occasional Scandinavian minimalist phases. This usually occurs when the house is in imminent danger of becoming fully engulfed in stuff. Open an IKEA catalog and look at the pictures. Not of the rooms (they add too much stuff) but of the furniture pieces. Simple, functional, uncluttered, they say, “relax” to my soul, take a load off, set a spell…

The simplicity mirrors the simplicity of my gender:

1) You need a comfortable place to park your butt.

2) An uninterrupted view of a big TV.

3) A place to leave the remote, so it won’t get lost.

And,

4) Easy access to beverages and food.

(If you’ve ever wondered why guys spend so much time in the bathroom, the simple answer could be that you can’t move the furniture around. If Lazy-Boy ever developed a toilet seat where your legs didn’t go to sleep, we’d only come out for food.)

The aforementioned guy nirvana is rarely attained for two simple reasons. One, we dump stuff all over the place for the tidy-fairies to handle, and two, most of us live in houses with women. (Confusing women with the tidy-fairies is a giant mistake, trust me on this!)

And women like to decorate. I’m not talking painting and wallpapering and putting up drapes type of decorating. This is the decorating that is done on top of that decorating. Decorating for the holidays, or seasons, or whatever gets in the way of simply leaving the place alone.

Now, I live in Southern California, which is fairly devoid of seasonal extremes. She-Who-Is-Adored loves the seasons, so many moons ago, she planted ten or twelve liquid amber trees in our yard. These pretty trees have beautiful green shoots in the spring, lush green leaves in the summer, and turn yellow and red in the fall. Then the leaves actually fall, and we have a set of oversized twigs for a couple of months. With most of the trees around us being evergreens, the liquid amber is the star of the fall, acting all deciduous and back east-y.

I mention this because I spend an incredible amount of time collecting, mulching and generally fighting with the several tons of leaves these beauties produce. Hate is a strong word, but our relationship is certainly not healthy.

You can imagine my joy as, when the leaves are threatening to suffocate the house from the outside, She brings out silk versions to decorate the inside of our abode, which she paid actual money for, and puts in little baggies and stores under the stairs for eleven months of the year. Sure, they are pretty and all that, but honestly, you want leaves? Look outside.

And before you think this is a nice piece of bringing the outside in, you try coming inside with real leaves on your person. Those leaves are bad and stain the carpet in a quite spectacular manner. No, the outside definitely has to stay outside. (I get it, now that I’m responsible for keeping both zones in good shape.)

Now, lest you think me unreasonable and a complainer, She, has not succumbed to the excesses of Loony Tunes land, and silk leaves aside, adds just enough touches to make things festive. Christmas, which lives in boxes for most of the time, is mostly red and green touches, and twinkley white lights. I truly feel for my brothers who are married to the group I shall call “The Collectors.”

They start with one little snow covered Dickens village piece, and in a few years, Christmas becomes an urban planning nightmare. Sheets of cotton wool draped over every surface, village life, in all its ceramic glory, on every surface and in every nook and cranny. Loosing the cat becomes an imminent possibility, loosing your couch a probability, and loosing the remote a certainty. The Collectors vie with each other to get on local TV as the neighborhood nutcase. On the magic day, a young thing and her camera crew visit your humble abode. They struggle mightily to not laugh openly at their “subject,” but seem unable to remove sarcasm from their lips completely.

The lady in question, blissfully unaware that she is just the filler between the weather report and the sports guy, gushes about her pieces like they are small children. If you look closely at the “Collector Lady” footage, there in the background you might spot the husband. He will be sitting on the couch looking alternately sheepish and mortified, covered in fake snow looking for the remote in the coffee table village, an offshoot of the main village, this one with a fifties theme.

Some collectors amass santas, others angels, and the truly out of control, have santas, angels, and some young Elvises, interspersed with their multiple villages. Now, I know how much space our more reasonable holiday collection takes up when stored. How on Earth do the collectors do it?

To be fair, I’ve noticed they often have an RV outside their, usually modest, home. Is that where they store themselves in the off-season? No wonder self-storage sites are springing up all over the place.

On a completely random side note, what must be going through the minds of the workers in China as they produce this stuff? I’m pretty sure that Santa and Dickensian villages are not part of the culture. How do they think we use these things, and, maybe more importantly, when? I mean, for the village to be in the store for December, it probably needs shipped in mid-summer, so manufacturing of the seasonal stuff is something like six weeks out of whack. Thus, around Valentine's Day must be when Halloween production is in full swing.

Anyway, the purpose of this particular hub was to take a respite from the Christmas-ing up of the house. I removed the strands of red and yellow silk leaves and carefully bagged them to be ready for next year, switched out the formal china for the Spode Christmas Tree set, and assembled the pre lit wonder pine. This fake behemoth takes up half the living room, necessitating the removal of most of the furniture, that somehow has to be shoehorned into our three-car (car, in the garage, don’t make me laugh), garage. ( A whole other hub right there…)

I’m so over wrestling with real trees, and not a moment too soon, now that I have won vacuuming detail for the foreseeable future.

Do we have spring decorations? Have to check, but probably…


Dear Hub Reader


If you enjoy this hub, please check out my book,

Homo Domesticus; A Life Interrupted By Housework,

A collection of my best writings woven into a narrative on a very strange year in my life.

Available directly from:

http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/homo-domesticus/12217500

Chris


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    • ChrisLincoln profile image
      Author

      ChrisLincoln 6 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

      Linda,

      Sadly, I think it is inevitable. Turning your house into Disneyland is big business, the big box stores need to sell more of this stuff and the next step will be local competitions, for best house, best street, best estate etc.

      Basically you will have failed in your civic duty if your house can not be seen from space. This will disrupt the time space continuum though, as the North Pole will melt and Santa and the elves will drown, and we all know that no Santa means no Christmas.

      I mean some baby being born ages ago in some other country can't be it, surely?

      Chris

    • ChrisLincoln profile image
      Author

      ChrisLincoln 6 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

      Dallas 93444

      You know that Trap-door-trees would be a best seller, especially if we could figure out a way to do it without the major construction and hole in the floor part!

      Rotating the TV, has to be grounds for divorce, don't you think?

      Chris

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      We do have those home owners who feel it's their duty to quadruple their electricity consumption in December, by draping the whole house in icicle lights and dancing Santas and goodness knows what horrors of inflatable Christmasness. They're becoming more common, but they still make headline news in the local paper!!

      Linda.

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      Where can you buy those "trap-door trees?" The worse thing I heard of was a wife insisted on attaching a plastic Christmas tree to the back of the big TV. Come Christmas, she would rotate the TV and the poor man was stuck with no football.. Just watching a blinking Christmas tree...

    • ChrisLincoln profile image
      Author

      ChrisLincoln 6 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

      Linda,

      Glad you liked it. There are very great differences between the UK and US as to what is considered decorated, out here the house gets decorated both inside and out. Lights are a bare minimum, oversized figures de riguer, and every now and then I spot a house with a cotton-wool white roof. (No real snow, unlike back in the UK right now!!)

      I grew up with paper chains and the tree lit and placed in the window - way simpler. I'm on day three of a probable five or six day project!

      Whatever, I hope it's a happy Christmas for you,

      Chris

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Chris,

      Oh my word, I do love that Tree Trapdoor idea - that would suit me down to the ground! I am not your typical woman when it comes to decorating the house for Christmas. I really can't be bothered. I do manage to give the house and good tidy, but this leaves me with no energy for decorating. So we have a nice tree, two bits of tinsel randomly draped over our two bits of art, and some lights around the window. That's it. Three bits.

      Great hub L :)

      Linda.

    • ChrisLincoln profile image
      Author

      ChrisLincoln 6 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

      Tammy,

      With a smaller space, you just have to think three dimensionally - I mean, think how much you could attach to the ceiling, and how crazy you could drive your cat if you let stuff dangle!!

      tipoague

      Thanks for leaving a comment. Now, see if you can buy just one little Dickensian Christmas Village House...

      And what on Earth does "overdecorate" mean, is that even possible? (Like too skinny or too rich...)

      Keith,

      I hear you on the lights. Mine waited two days before a random strand gave up on me. It is usually very unwintery here in SoCal at Christmas, but nowhere near the extremes you have in Melbourne. It has to be somewhat surreal.

      As to the tree thing, I have a plan, taken from the world of theater - a Tree Trapdoor. Tree just pops out of the ground, fully decorated and lit, then sinks back into its hermetically sealed, underground lair for eleven months. Brilliant. Could be an issue if you live in an appartment/flat though...

      Chris

    • attemptedhumour profile image

      attemptedhumour 6 years ago from Australia

      It's usually forty degrees centigrade here in Melbourne on christmas day and we still have to have a roast dinner. We have two, or maybe three colour schemes for the tree and it takes about three days to hang them in exactly the right places. Then, not before of course, because that would be too easy, we have to circle said decorated tree with five miles of christmas lights, without knocking any off, then spend six months trying to find the one light bulb that trips out the rest of those pretty, once they are up and running, lights. The obvious question is why don't we just leave the tree up and carefully, OK very carefully, dust it off? Ikea now that's the biggest maze in the world. Nuf said. Anyway another funny hub Chris, we have a beautiful liquid amber with a pear tree next to it that forms a guard of honour as we treck up the garden to spend the rest of the year trying to get the tree into a box that is too small. Cheers mate from Keith the ex Brummie Git.

    • tlpoague profile image

      Tammy 6 years ago from USA

      I guess I am a lucky one, as I have never felt the need to overdecorate for Christmas and can't stand Black Friday shopping. Great hub!

    • Tammy L profile image

      Tammy L 6 years ago from Jacksonville, Texas

      Yes, Chris, the Christmas decorating is almost as obsessive to some people as the Black Friday shopping. My apartment is not big enough for a bunch of decorations and you know my philosophy on Black Friday shopping.