Deck the Halls with Boughs, Not Beads

Christmas has been coming too slowly or too quickly this year, and I haven’t figured out which. Our tree is up but with nary an ornament decorating it, and I’ve made multiple batches of these apple dumplings but not one Christmas cookie. Oy vey.

As the decorations go up, however, David’s inner Scrooge is coming out with many a bah-humbug. Our design styles are usually pretty similar (craftsman meets contemporary), so this surprises me. How about a $7 poinsettia to adorn the table? Nope, too much flower, too much money, he says. After hanging a wreath my grandmother gave me on the front door (I’m shamelessly pulling the Nana card here), he complained that the cheap storm door we inherited with the house won’t close properly.  My wise men with baby Jesus? The style looks “too windy,” I think were his words. But the fatal flaw in my holiday design was the garland for the tree. Who knew red wood beads could incite such strong opinions?


Really now, are they that bad?

However, when I relayed our separate styles to a friend who’s got a couple decades of marriage under her belt, she said beads apparently go over about as well in her house as they do in Chateau Britton. Anything resembling beads gives her husband and sons a fit of loathing, while I must say that David permitted the beads to stay in the end. Grudgingly. But he did.

This is our third Christmas living under the same roof, and apparently there are still traditional differences to work through during the holidays — and that includes decor. Ironically, he’s not super attached to the way his family styled the house for the holidays, but their tradition of a handmade creche and other small details still seems to come out in his preferences. Which still doesn’t explain why he dislikes wood beads.

We can’t be the only ones still discovering Christmas tradition differences — right?

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4 thoughts on “Deck the Halls with Boughs, Not Beads

  1. Hahaha! That’s a hilarious story. We haven’t come into any crazy differences, but then again, we haven’t had a Christmas tree yet as we’ve been either a) sick or b) out of town.

    Merry Christmas to Chateau Britton!

  2. Cranberry garland isn’t that bad, all things considered, though one questions the original concept. Electric Christmas lights, of course, have their origins in the candles Luther allegedly tied to evergreens in, one assumes, an attempt to recreate the tongues of fire witnessed at Pentecost, only at greater scale in terms of the conflagration. Add in real cranberries and not only is your house likely to burn down, but before that happens, you’re going to have cranberries smeared all over the floor.

    With St. Boniface allegedly to blame for the whole evergreen concept, and the needles thus deposited on the floor, one must assume that German Christianity decided to bring John the Baptist’s wilderness experience right into the home, and did a remarkably thorough job of it.

    So perhaps David should just be glad that the cranberries are synthetic. But not ridiculous synthetic, like some other forms of garland. I have a grandmother who doesn’t believe that you’ve started decorating until you’ve covered everything — the tree, the sofa, the television set — with copious strings of brightly colored tinsel. My other grandmother favors fiber optic Christmas decor, futurism circa 1970.

    Because nothing recalls the birth of the Christ child quite like purple tinsel, large blinking multicolor bulbs, and a creche in which the wise men (so imbued with wisdom that they arrived a year or so earlier than in the biblical account) count a Magi Santa in their number.

    If this doesn’t describe your Christmas decor, David doesn’t have too much room to complain. You do make it worse, though, by calling them “beads,” as men react very negatively to beads. Try “red ball bearings”; terminology matters.

    Incidentally, I disagree with his judgment on the poinsettia. Sure, it’s a flower, which has to be considered an argument against, but on the other hand, one can think of it as an annual tribute to Joel Poinsett, our first Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Mexico. And that’s a different matter altogether!

    It’s also a poor man’s Glastonbury Thorn cutting, and given the recent effort to finish the task the Roundheads began, maybe the rich man’s (and even the Queen’s), too.

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