Tis the Season Day 1: Ugly Ornaments

Every year, my family goes to one of the local Christmas tree farms and picks out a tree.  When I was little, in order to mark what ones we liked, my parents used my brothers and I as living markers.  We’d be told to stand by certain trees as they went off to look at more.

Since we are all in or beyond college, picking out the tree as a family no longer happens. But decorating said tree?  We go all out.

You see, we have this massive box of Christmas ornaments.  Most of them have been around as long as I have been alive.  (Or longer.)  Most of them are also hideous.  There’s some caroling rats with fez hats, large wooden fish, floppy quilted angels, weird crocheted candy canes, and even a sand dollar with a tree painted on it.

When we were little, Mom was crafty.  Wanting the tree to look elegant and socially presentable, she hid all the ugly ornaments, omitting them from the options.  Being small children, my brothers and I never noticed.  As time passed, though, Mom was unable to get her hands on the ornaments soon enough and they were discovered.  It wasn’t long before we began sneaking them onto the Christmas tree.  At first, it was only a few a year.  Their appearances grew more and more frequent as we aged. By high school, my brothers and I were in charge of decorating the tree by ourselves.  Without parental supervision, decorating became a game.  As we dragged the massive box of ornaments from the basement, we gave each other mischievous smiles.  How many ugly ornaments could we get away with this year? How much can we piss Mom off and still get presents?

Last night, my little brother and I played the yearly Ugly Ornaments game. We were home alone with No one to hold us back. We went covered every of that tree. It’s a monstrosity! Sam and I are so proud.

Later, when Mom walked into the house after work, she looks at us and goes, “How many ugly ornaments will I have to sneak off the tree this year?”

I smiled.  “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

~~~

What are your family traditions regarding decorating the tree?  Tell me about it in the comments!

Want to contribute to Tis the Season? Let me know!

It’s too early for Christmas

As the song says, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year.  There’s something magical about looking out at the world covered in snow and drinking warm cups of cocoa before the fire as Nat King Cole croons from the stereo.  When family comes from near and far to share feasts and exchange gifts, my heart just soars.  It’s the best time of the year.

For me, Christmastime is sacred.  Like a little kid waiting and longing so much to open the presents under the Christmas tree, I wait and long for it to come.  It’s the waiting, for me, that makes the season so special.  Delaying my gratification only makes it that much better when it’s finally here.

When I went to the store mere days after Halloween to buy milk to see a full-fledged Christmas section in all its red and green splendor, I was appalled.  When I see Facebook statuses from eager friends listening to Christmas music, I cringe.  When, in the first week of November, I turn on the t.v., flip through the channels, and see Christmas movies playing on Hallmark, I want to scream.

The commercialization of Christmas absolutely disgusts me.  It takes all the splendor and joy out of the season and crushes it with greed.  The money-grubbing stores that are opening Thanksgiving afternoon make me sick.  Apparently waiting ’till Black Friday just isn’t enough.  Let’s gloss over the holiday themed around being grateful for the things we have and go straight for buying all the things we don’t.

Dear society, where is your self-control?

If we celebrate Christmas all the time, it decreases in value.  It’s a time that you need to wait for.  Waiting, hoping, and longing make it that much sweeter.

I know there’s nothing I can do to make people stop destroying the magic of Christmas by starting celebrations too early.  My words can’t stop stores from selling as much as they can, nor will they be able to stop the hoards of raging Christmas fans from over-indulging before Thanksgiving is even around the corner.  But whoever you are reading this, do you really want the most wonderful time of the year tarnished and spoiled because of capitalism and lack of self-control?

I certainly don’t.

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