While my little brother steadied the ladder, I climbed up the rickety steps and peered into the dark. This was my annual chore. I had to fetch the artificial tree that we’d stuffed in a box and shoved in the attic after last year’s Christmas. Finally, I saw it in a corner behind a gauzy forest of spider webs.
Neither the tree nor the box were aging well. The metal branches were rusting. Some had burst out of the box. Gingerly, I reached through the white swaying webs, grabbed a limb and yanked the tangled mess towards the attic door.
The box slid across the floor, hit a splinter, tipped over and exploded. “Watch out!” my brother howled. Artificial branches rained down on us, knocking us to the floor. When the dust cleared, we were covered in spider corpses and talons of rusty tree.
I loathed that tree. That’s probably why I won’t have anything but a genuine spruce or fir in our home at Christmas. Sticky sap? Tree needles all over the rug? I’ll take that any day over a visit to the kingdom of rust and dust.
Diana lets me pick the tree, but she does the rest so I asked her to offer some decorating tips for the holidays:
• Don’t overdo the accessories. Remove your year-round accents and replace them with your holiday ornaments, keepsakes and books.
• Invest in a Christmas manger scene – or inherit one. It’s is a reminder of the reason for the season and it embodies the spirit of giving. That’s a worthy lesson. Diana’s aunt gave us a beautifully carved wooden manger, now a treasured family heirloom.
• Place small accents throughout the house on bookshelves, in bathrooms, on doorknobs. Red candles are a fun reminder of the season. Don’t mix your reds, though. Pick one shade and stick to it. And go easy on the glitter. Too much is just tacky.
• So you’re the one in the neighborhood with a lawn full of inflatables? Please don’t deflate by day. Your droopy Frosty looks like a victim of a drive-by shooting. And, please, be timely. Don’t wait till Easter to pack away your blow-up reindeer.
• Schedule a visit to FCG. You can refresh your holiday look with a few new accessories and we have a showroom full of possibilities.