So, about that tree

The tree remained up for three days before all parties were gathered and the ornaments went on. My husband and I did another frantic search earlier in the day for lights that had a green wire instead of white. It probably wouldn’t have been a big deal, but then OCD took over and I either needed another strand with green wire or we would’ve had to replace both strings with white. I’m not prone to OCD in general, but don’t we all have a little bit of that in our systems, especially when it comes to our own homes?

A couple days after the tree went up my husband and I joined forces and finished decorating the house and stashing the bins. I’m pleased to tell you that our concerns over our two cats climbing a real tree were for naught. Maybe it was a good thing the decorations didn’t go on right away in case they had.

I have various family members, from cousins to in-laws, who have a knack at making their homes look like something out of Better Homes and Gardens at Christmas. Not me, I really don’t enjoy decorating. It’s because I’m thinking about the work to take it all down.

Starting when my daughters were small I let them put the ornaments on the tree. I never fixed their placements after they went to bed, my reasoning being that they needed to feel as if they could do something by themselves. An exercise in self-esteem. At least that’s my story. Now that they’re adults, they still put the ornaments on the tree. My excuse now is I have to fix up the rest of the house myself. Plus, I’m always in charge of the lights, which is a chore in frustration and one my husband refuses to deal with based on PTSD from his childhood experiences with his father putting up lights. This year, with a nine foot tree, we cheated a bit and put the icicle lights I bought for the outside of the house on it. My thinking was we’d have to go around fewer times because the “icicles” would hang down and cover the tree. It worked rather well as it kind of looked like snow on the boughs. Feel free to use that trick next year yourself.

I keep the décor to one room in the house, mostly because I’m lazy. Quite honestly, I’m probably the redneck of the Christmas world the way I haphazardly deck the halls. I have a few collections of nativities, snowmen, etc. The biggest plus on making my new house look like Christmas is that I have plenty of shelving and spaces that for the most part don’t require me to remove every tchotchke around the house. I can channel my inner couch potato and just stick Christmas stuff among those items.

I don’t get a lot of traffic through anyway: my mom, my sister, a cousin or two, my kids’ friends. Not all at once, either. I’m happy with the state of my house, especially this year when I’m still trying to get it settled from the move. I’m just proud of myself for writing a column every week, making the Almond Roca, and getting out of bed every morning.

By the time you read this, Christmas will be over, guests will have come and gone, and we’ll be dreaming of a new year. Though the tree will be old news, I will still have it up, because it was a lot of work to get it that point. If it was feasible, I’d probably leave it up until next year.

Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom living nearby in a neighborhood near you. You can read more of her writing on her website, or follow her on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh by Gretchen Leigh.” Her column is available every week at under the Life section.

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Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in a neighborhood near you. You can read more of her writing on her website To see her columns come to life, follow her on Facebook at Living with Gleigh by Gretchen Leigh.
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