Every year I open my small, solitary box of Christmas decorations and think “this year I’m going to actually go out and buy some real decorations that I really love.”
But every year, I manage to find a few bits of ribbons leftover from last year’s gifts and a few ornaments and Santa figurines from Chris and I’s childhoods to repurpose. I arrange our strands of lights so that the burnt-out patches aren’t so noticeable and I put my son’s construction paper to good use. I use a few yards of random fabrics, still waiting for their dates with my sewing machine, to cover up eyesores like 1960’s era air-conditioning units and transform them instead into a mantle for presents.
I buy flowers in red and white and light candles. This year I put out a few Christmas books on the coffee table and put Will’s Christmas photos from last year up for display (don’t even ask me how I”ll manage to get him to sit still for anything half as angelic this year).
Having grown up on a steady Christmas diet of real trees and piney needles and aromas reaching into every corner of our home, I have yet to bring myself to buy an artificial tree. Perhaps because the ones for sale that come anywhere near the majesty of a real, live tree also come with some serious sticker-shock. Or perhaps because this Northern Wisconsin-gal hasn’t quite made peace with the fact that it’s been 4 years since I’ve seen a white Christmas.
We skipped having a tree for our entire tour in Chengdu, but who throws a holiday party without a tree in the living room for ambiance? Well, ok, I’m sure quite a-many people, but not me. I needed a tree this year.
The artificial Christmas tree market here in New Delhi is certainly for the sellers. It’s illegal to cut down real Christmas trees and prices for flimsy, plastic 4 foot tall trees in Khan Market soar far higher than I’m willing to pay. INA offers slightly cheaper prices and more options, but the bulk of the vendors won’t get their trees in until the 10th of December. I needed something sooner and, quite honestly, something alive.
Which is how we ended up with a trio of potted shrubs, tied together with ribbon, and topped with as many ornaments as their flimsy limbs could handle–precisely half a dozen, if anyone’s curious.
For height, I arranged the clay pots in Will’s water table and covered the whole thing with an old, stained tablecloth.
The reviews have been mixed. The kids tell me it’s not a “real” Christmas tree. Their parents, after a slight pause, call it “creative.” As for us, I rather like our funny little tree and the fact that the pots can be dismantled and the shrubs left to grow in the yard after the holidays…to ensure an even bigger, better “tree” for next year.
And so, once again, I have yet to buy a single new Christmas decoration, but it seems that maybe having the cute Land of Nod gingerbread pillows and all of the amazing modern garlands on Etsy isn’t the end-all be-all of holiday cheer that I always think it will be. With a few evergreen candles burning and the magical glow from a few strands of lights in a dark room, I guess I can hold off again on my Christmas decoration buying-spree until next year.