Monday, Dec. 14, 2009
Dear Diary:

"Wellllllll," said the spousal unit. There was a pause as the cogs engaged and the wheels turned. Clearly, he was rummaging about for the most diplomatic answer possible.

"It's certainly you". There was another pause.

"You can always tell people who don't know us that our grandchildren helped you with it." Then he chortled with far more glee than is appropriate for a man his age.

Just for the record, we have no grandchildren.

I've never made much of a fuss about Christmas here at our home because my mom-in-law was just so over the top with Christmas. Every year, starting about the end of November, her house looked like a giant Christmas bomb had exploded in it. The words "over the top" do not begin to describe the amount of decorating.

This Christmas day marks the third anniversary of her death and this year, to my utter surprise, I find myself missing her over the top Christmas decorating. I miss � I miss the celebration of it all, for want of a better word. I'm not a religious person, so I don't see the holiday through that lens, but in my own pagan way I enjoy the lights and colour.

We have LED Christmas lights strung around the deck to our home and the new porch but this year it didn't feel like enough. I decided to buy two strings of blue LED lights and decorate my tiny crab apple tree, the one the spousal unit felled a massive tree on a few years ago and almost killed. My reasoning here was that the tree is so tiny that it wouldn't take much to make it look festive.

So the spousal unit and I strung the two sets of lights and the result was, um, well, disappointing. Bitterly disappointing. Budgets are budgets, though, and I'd shot the Christmas light budget for this year, so it was on to Plan B.

For reasons even I can't understand, I've decided to do this tree in a blue and gold theme. I know. Nothing says Christmas like blue and gold. Shut up. So I rummaged through our ginormous box of decorations that go on our Charlie Brown Christmas tree every year, fished out the gold and blue ones, and hung them on the crab apple.

"There," I told myself. "That will make a show."

I stepped back to survey the results of my hour's work, work that happened in stupidly cold temperatures that left my fingers icy and bright red.

It looked � it looked � I guess pitiful pretty much sums it up because, well, the bulbs were just too tiny for a tree that size. Fine on an indoor Christmas tree, they were lost on the open branches of a crab apple.

I asked the spousal unit what he thought of the tree. He tilted his head, studied the tree. In a high pitched voice, tinged with a cockney accent, he said, "Please, sir, can I have another cup of decorations, sir?"

I hate it when he makes me laugh.

Okay, time for Plan C. I went to the dollar store looking for ginormous Christmas balls, but they don't have any. I checked in other stores, which did have them, but they were stupidly expensive. Back to the dollar store where I bought three spools of large, sparkly gold metallic ribbon.

Big Festive Bows. What could be more cheery than Big Festive Bows? My thoughts, exactly.

I got a grand total of six bows out of the ribbon, hung them on the tree, stood back to admire what I was positive would be a spectacular show, and they were, um, basically invisible. What had seemed incredibly sparkly and eye catching in the store totally disappeared against a snowy, sunny background.


At that point it became personal. With all this time invested, there was no way I could back down, especially since each iteration of the tree only made the spousal unit chortle more. Surely there had to be a way that I could make this tree become the festive, twinkly symbol of holiday joy I wanted it to be on a budget that was, well, miniscule.

Poor crabby.

Alrighty then. Plan D it was.

I turned to the hive mind and Googled home made Christmas ornaments. I mulled over and discarded endless ornaments until I came to these:

Paper Drops! Perfect. I have this shiny gold holographic plastic wrapping paper. I could make them out of that! Shiny! Gold! Waterproof!


So I measured and cut up enough strips to make ten of the things. The first thing I noticed is that the plastic wrapping paper is not as stiff as paper, so all the ornaments collapsed into a long tear drop. I surveyed this unexpected development and decided it would be okay.

Why do I do this to myselfI stapled them together, stapled a hanger to each of them, and marched out to the tree. I hung them. These things are basically lighter than air. Even a breath of air made them move and tangle up into the tree branches.


Ooops, did I say that out loud? What I meant to say was:


For those of you keeping track, I then launched Plan E. I decided that since my normal Christmas ornaments were basically lost on the tree, that I would take a few down, staple them by their knotted hanging strings to the bottom of the SHINY! GOLD! WATERPROOF! Paper Drops. They would act both as ballast to hold the ornaments in place and add a little more sparkle.

This I proceeded to do. And they did, uh, hold the SHINY! GOLD! WATERPROOF! Paper Drops in place, but the darn things are so light that they still somehow continually move, doing a shimmery kind of ghostly dance thingie. Which would be perfect for Hallowe'en, I'm thinking, but a little unsettling for this particular holiday.

Plus, because they're gold on one side and silver on the other, they basically do what the shiny gold bows do, which is disappear into the snowy background. Why I thought that SHINY! GOLD! WATERPROOF! Paper Drops would stand out more than shiny gold bows is one of those questions which are simply unanswerable.

As an extra, added bonus, they most definitely have that look of a homemade child's ornament. The sort of thing that would be made by the four to six-year-old crowd. Clumsy children between the ages of four to six. I am 58. Make of that what you will.

Wait, it gets worse. If I am around any time the spousal unit walks by the crab apple tree he chortles. The crab apple tree is in a place you have to constantly pass to get to our home.

He is a cruel, cruel man.

I think I speak for us all when I say that only a stupidly obsessive woman would not stop at this point, cut her losses, and graciously concede that this project cannot be accomplished for basically zero money.

Stay tuned for Plan F.


Mileage on the Marnometer: 143 miles.

Going Nowhere Collaboration

Goal for 2009: 500 miles

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Want to delve into my sordid past?
She's mellllllllllllllting - Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012 - Back off, Buble - Monday, Dec. 19, 2011 - Dispersed - Monday, Nov. 28, 2011 - Nothing comes for free - Monday, Nov. 21, 2011 - None of her business - Friday, Nov. 04, 2011 -

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