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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas tree etiquette

Another festively themed post for said time of year...

There's an unwritten rule about putting Christmas decorations on your tree once you have kids.  They are supposed to do it, relish it, love it, enjoy it.  You are supposed to stand back, admire, cherish, enjoy.

I hate it.  I have an inherent need for symmetry and colour co-ordination.

I thought I was alone in this, which just makes me a crap mother for this need completely overriding the parental joy and family closeness of the annual tree trimming.

Not so.

A friend posted a Facebook status update about how her daughter had put the decorations on unevenly, and she was having trouble stopping herself from correcting it.  I replied with my own addiction to uniformity.  Another mother said she puts her tree up while the kids are at school in order to ensure it is done right (smart woman!).  And so on, and so forth.


I may, perhaps, be slightly more AR (anal retentive) about it than other mothers - I hyperventilate if two ornaments of the same colour are next to each other, and plan out a rough mock-up sketch of the tree and the ornaments, so I can ensure they are spaced evenly, and there is an even mix of colours and different ornament types throughout the tree.  Even the side you don't see because it's against the wall.

The twins are too young to be interested.  Beyond trying to consume the low-hanging ornaments within arms reach, they couldn't care less if a green Santa was seen hanging with a green Rudolph, under the watchful eye of their green Snowman neighbour.  While it would give me heart palpitations, they only care about which bits will fit in their mouths, and which ornaments will be easiest to chew.  Heads up kids, it's not the round baubles, as discovered by Miss5 over three consecutive Christmases (Christmasii?) when she persisted with attempting to consume one, just in case her teeth had hardened adequately enough to break through from one Christmas to the next.  Pretty sure she thought there would be chocolate inside.

Miss5 is now old enough to help, and stands back assessing my work, praising my efforts with the odd "hmm...very nice George...", said with one hand across her waist, propping up her elbow as she strokes her chin.  Think she watches too much TV.  She will grow up to make a fabulous Foreman / Supervisor / Co-ordinator, as she's not really a 'doer'.

Hubby is wise beyond his years and stays out of it completely.  Except once it's finished and he comes in to assess where I've gone wrong - It's too close to the TV (dare a stray strand of tinsel block his summer cricket viewing); the lights will heat up and burn the house down (slight alarmist); it's too close to the wall (no idea what that one's about); it's too close to the ground and the twins will pull it over (ok that one is based on experience...multiple experiences...they get more joy out of doing this than in opening gifts or any other aspect of the festive season...home wreckers...).

So while most families are getting together to share the festive love and happiness, my left eye starts to twitch, my pulse speeds up, and I get jittery and hyped planning the layout of the Christmas tree decorations.  Heaven help anyone that gets in my way - especially the kids totally lacking in any sense of style, symmetry, spatial awareness, colour co-ordination and distribution.

There should probably be a support group for this.  One with LOTS of wine.


  1. Wow -- i too thought i was alone on this one.
    Thanks ;)

  2. We're off to Bali for Christmas on Wednesday Shell - I expect I'll have to redo the tree at the hotel, otherwise it'll drive me nuts every time I walk past it! Slight OCD I think!

  3. Wow -- i too thought i was alone on this one.
    Thanks ;)


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