When I get home from work, I have several "rituals" I go through. First I take off my shoes and luxuriate in the spreading of my toes as far apart as they will possibly go. Then I open up a fresh can of Mountain Dew, savoring the heady aroma of sugar, lime, and bubbles. Then it's comfortable clothes and a search for a hockey battle or college basketball game.
This time of year, plugging in my Christmas tree joins the list of "must dos." Sometimes I get captivated by the sparkling lights and ornaments that hold all sorts of special memories and meaning. I just stand there for seconds or minutes, mesmerized into immobility.
To be entirely honest, I'm sort of an ornament addict. I have lights, ribbon, ornaments, and tree skirts for approximately eight or nine trees. As a teenager, I had my own tree in my bedroom ... a four-foot garage sale find. I used every spare cent I had to create that first tree ... blue lights, dark blue velvet bows, variegated bulbs that simulated the feathers of a blue jay, and even an old-style St. Nicolas in regal midnight blue robes. I slept with that tree lit up from Black Friday until January 3.
Later years allowed me to develop other color themes that I still pull out from time to time ... cranberry, rust, and copper; lilac and silver; and red and black.
Then came the stars ... metal, fabric, ceramic, glass, wood, etc. Some were Native American inspired with woven wire and glass beads. Others were artsy, crafted from colored glass or cloisonne techniques. And still others were various cookie cutters and found star-shaped objects co-opted into being tree decorations. Still one of my favorite themes.
In 2006, purely by accident, I developed an obsession for Hallmark ornaments. I needed a last-minute greeting card and wandered into a nearby Hallmark outlet and past its ornament display. My God ... Disney characters, classic cartoon favorites, iconic toys and images, super heroes, Star Trek vessels, and so much more. I spent hundreds. And I STILL have "to get" lists for some of their 2008 and 2009 items I just couldn't swing. Christmas 2008 I bit the bullet and purchased a new six-foot, pre-lit, artificial blue spruce tree. It was truly resplendent in all it's three-year-build-up Hallmark regalia. Buzz Lightyear hanging beside Wonder Woman ... Ursula from "Little Mermaid" perched on the same branch as the Mystery Machine van. Sylvester eying the balancing fish on a Cat-In-The-Hat ornament. The combinations were exhilarating.
Wacky is the best word to sum up my 2009 tree. If it was lime green or had feathers or reminded me or circus soleil, then it ended up on my tree. I had pink pinwheels, purple metal springs, aquamarine bulbs, ostrich plumes, and elongated figures that looked like residents of Whoville. It was weird and an eyesore and I loved it!!
This year, I settled for bulbs. Hundreds of bulbs ... all colors and all shapes. It is surprisingly elegant. Not really me at all. Oh well ... in another two weeks it will join the ranks of all the other carefully-labelled totes I have in storage. Just a colorful memory.
POINT OF RANT: Any ideas for 2011?