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Really, There is a Reason for my Madness

It has come to my attention that many of you think I am a total freak for starting the Christmas decorating already. First of all, I feel the need to point out that Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK and there are only about 40 days until Christmas. It's not that early. However, I will be the first to admit that I'm starting to get a little edgy about the issue, because I am at least a week behind in my holiday festivity decorating activities. So maybe I am in a bit of a hurry.

But! There is a reason. Actually, there is a history of reasons. Long, long ago, in a land far, far away (well, OK, in Akron), there were two little kittens and a very sad little Christmas tree. It was the cheapest of cheap trees and was decorated with homemade paper garland because back in those days, there were many college bills to pay and Ramen Noodles were the meal du jour. Those two little kittens were in love with that cheap, ugly tree. They climbed it, they pulled things off of it, they spent their every waking moment playing with it. Within a week, the previously sad and ugly tree was even more sad and ugly because those little buttholes destroyed it.

The following year, I decided to take the wise advice of a fellow cat keeper. She recommended setting up the less sad and ugly replacement tree first without lights or ornaments. Once the kittens seemed to have gotten over the joy of having the great indoors in the living room, then add the pretty blinking lights. And once they were done staring longingly at those, then introduce the shiny ornaments. The idea was to make it a little interesting at a time instead of the all at once HOLY SMOKES WOULD YOU LOOK AT ALL THE SHINY AND BRIGHT GOODNESS! PARTY IN THE CHRISTMAS TREE!

It worked. The cats didn't rip the tree down that year (BTW, I now know that this strategy works with dogs and kids, too!). So I made it a habit in the years that followed to slowly set up the tree. Doing so requires that you start the process perhaps a few weeks earlier than you otherwise would. If you don't, you run the risk of not getting to decorate it until 10 minutes before you are going to take it down.

As the years went by, I began to fill the time between tree phases with bright shiny outdoor lights. Then more bright shiny outdoor lights. Then even more bright shiny outdoor lights. Before I knew it, I was putting out dozens of strands of lights. And I wanted more. But to accomplish that task, you need time. Since work has a tendency to interfere with my fun time, I had to squeeze in the decorating in the evenings and weekends. And I had to back up my start date just a little bit farther.

Then began the tradition of visiting my husband's family for Thanksgiving. That tradition, while wonderful, puts a severe damper in my Christmas decorating timeline. I want to turn those happy little lights on the second we return, and in order to do that, I must start before we leave. And given the fact that my Christmas Kingdom is teetering on the edge of being featured in the next Griswold's movie, we're talking the beginning of November.

So, if my world were a perfect world, I would have started with the decorating on November 1st. I promise I don't start turning the outdoor stuff on until after Thanksgiving. As for the indoor stuff? Well, my big tree in the living room holds enough lights to both heat the entire house and provide enough light to read by, so I do start turning it on as soon as it's all set up. Usually that would be done by now, so I am running late. And I've had to read by the light of a lamp because of it.

Especially for Jen, here's some upside-down Christmas trees. There are also some that come with a bracket so that you can attach the base to your ceiling, but of course I couldn't find any photos. This place sells them (or at least they did when we lived near there).

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Reader Comments (14)

You go! I love that you have such an organized and routine oriented way of getting ready. I am a routine person. In my house we set up our tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. It started a few years ago when I was living in MD and teaching down there. I set the tree up right after Thanksgiving so that I could enjoy the tree as long as possible because I would travel to see family in PA for the Christmas/New Year holiday. That meant the tree had to come down before I came home (made the mistake once of leaving it up and having to clean up the poor dead thing when I came back). So when I got a teaching job in PA, the tree up after Thanksgiving tradition continued. Anyway, sorry to make such a comment on here! Enjoy your holiday tradition and I hope to see pictures of the fun as you go along!

November 13, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Well, shoot. Where was that cat/tree acclimating theory years ago when my tree came crashing down through my screen door (yes, screen door - ahh, college days and ghetto apartments with heat that never turned off) at the paws of a malicious kitten.

Seriously though, I saw the first balcony all a-glow with lights last week and you bet your behind I was all over planning out my balcony decor extravaganza - complete with the fake tree.

On with the decorating!

November 14, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterjayna

We used to put a hook in the ceiling that was attached to the top of the tree, and then lash the center of it to the banister handrails so our cats wouldn't pull it over. We had plastic ornaments that we attached to the branches with twist ties so they couldn't pull them off.

Our cats were thugs.

November 14, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterprecarious tomato

I just don't have the energy to do that anymore. I love decorating, but the kids want to help and there's only so much "don't touch THAT" that I can take. I wait until they're in bed, drag all the stuff out and quickly put up as much as I possibly can before I'm forced to sleep.

Although the kids do come in handy with the non-breakables. They're in charge of decorating their own rooms because it keeps them busy.

November 14, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

I wonder if I could get hubs to buy into the cat/kid tree acclimation program? It's brilliant!

I decorate earlier and earlier every year. Now I have the itch to decorate outside. But it's for the kids! I swear!

November 14, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMadame Queen

I love that you love to decorate and it doesn't seem like it is all that early - really. We will decorate next week. Have fun!!! Your kids will love you for loving the holidays so much. Take care.

November 14, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKellan

Yes, I think you are mad for decorating this early, but there is great method in your madness :)

Me? I'm a last minute kind of girl. I will prob put up decorations in the first week or so of December. Depending on how I feel :P

November 14, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterVeronica

Pam--There really isn't much organized about it. If you could see my living room right now, what with the stacks and stacks of plastic tubs, you'd agree.

Jayna--You go, girl! BTW, aren't all apartments within 10 miles of Kent pretty ghetto? We lived in Tallmadge and still weren't far enough away to avoid the leaky roof, screen door, heat always on joy.

Precarious Tomato--Your cats were thugs. I think I might be scared of them. A lot.

Karen--You don't have the energy because you have so many other things you have to do! I have no idea how you do it--run a business, keep track of 4 kids, all the appointments, etc. I'd rip my hair out.

Madame Queen--Isn't that one of the best things about having kids? Blaming them for everything you want rocks. BTW, I swear the giant inflatable carousel was all Alexis' idea. She made me buy it.

Kellan--She will either learn to love it, or hate it. Her choice, but she will not escape it.

Veronica--That's not too late. My Mother-in-law probably won't put up her tree until she sees us in her driveway the day before Christmas. She knows I'm going to give her grief if she doesn't, but I know she really doesn't care for the whole Christmas decorating thing. Doesn't stop me from complaining though.

Have I mentioned that I love Christmas decorations? I don't care what you do or don't believe in, shiny things and bright lights are just plain fun.

November 14, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBurgh Baby's Mom

whew, I was a little worried about your early start. I just have an attitude problem about how early Christmas hits stores these days. I feel better now. I won't do anything until at least Dec. 1. and even then... I'm not sure what we're doing this year.

You go on with your bad self!


November 14, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterred pen mama

Don't you just love how we can justify ANYTHING!!

Lol. I'm starting to drag out stuff thsi weekend too.

November 14, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLeanne

I appreciate you taking the time to give me the xmas tree info. Thanks! I sat and stared at those trees and I just can't do it. It just seems wrong somehow. I think what we will probably have to do is buy a small tree that we can put in the middle of our dining room table, so it's out of Dylan's reach. As he gets older, he can decorate that one. Of course, I haven't run any of this by Jim, but I am the boss afterall.

November 15, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJen

OK the use of the word "butthole" has me dying. I havent heard someone use that word in so long and I just find it so funny! OMG I must need to go to bed. Butthole. ROTFLMAO!!!!!

November 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMy name is Tammie

Jen--You are absolutely the boss. As in, the person who will have to deal with the ramifications of whatever happens. BTW, Pat Catan's has some quite lovely mini trees. Not that I've considered buying more or anything.

Tammie--That happens to be one of my favoritest words. It's not cussing, but so perfectly conveys the moment. And our cats are buttholes. In every way, shape, and form.

November 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBurgh Baby's Mom

It's October in four hours. Can we talk Christmas yet? Cause you are prolly getting antsy to set up your goods.

September 30, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnglophile Football Fanatic

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