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Martha Stewart caves in to Christmas kitsch

Submitted by on Sunday, 1 June 2008 2 Comments

Originally published Dec. 9, 2007, thehive.modbee.com

Dad tried to get a grocery-store tree past Big Guy this year, figuring he’d combine the ATM stop and the purchase. But Big Guy was having none of it.

“No, no, no. We have to go to the Christmas tree stand,” Big Guy insisted. “Kissmas tee, Kissmas tee,” Little Guy chorused.

They got their way, because on issues that really matter, I do that when I can. And to a 4-year-old and 2-year-old, Christmas trees are near the top of the really matter list.

I’ve always put up Christmas trees, even in the years I lived alone. There’s such peace in relaxing in the still of a cold night – often a snowy night back then – and gazing at lights.

Back then, it was white lights only. And dozens of hand-tied colonial blue, dusty mauve and Wedgwood green bows, satin and velvet. White ornaments, embellished with ribbons in the same colors. Even the candy canes coordinated.

Ba ha ha ha ha! Pre-Kid Me had a stitch in her side from the laughter as I completed my descent into the kitsch pit today.

I’ve been tumbling for years.

Dad decided during Big Guy’s first Christmas season that the baby wanted a more colorful tree. So we headed to a dollar store and came home with a huge collection of red, green, purple and blue stars and globes. And, of course, colored lights. The baby would like them better, I was assured.

And Big Guy did seem fascinated, from his seat in the swing next to the tree. But, then, he was five months old. His toes still fascinated him.

The next year, I was two months pregnant with Little Guy when Christmas rolled around, so I don’t recall putting up a tree. Someone must have, because there’s one in all the holiday pictures. Guess it happened during one of the 23 hours a day I was sleeping.

The third year, all bets – and the few ribbons I’d managed to hang on to – were off. Big Guy was obsessed with That Baby Who Had Ruined His Life, so we went overboard in adjusting the tree to his “style.”
Teddy bears and reindeer. Stuffed Santas and the Mrs. A growing collection of Big Guy’s “artwork.”

Year four, Big Guy started kidnapping ornaments from other people’s trees, because when you’re 3½ and cute as a bug, you can get away with that.

The topper – literally – was today, when we went shopping for a star. Bye, bye, beautiful velvet ribbon, the last relic from my Martha Stewart tree.

There were some nice stars available, but the guys were having none of that either. Despite my careful guidance – “Oh! Look at the gold one! Don’t you love it!” – they picked the most garish model on the shelves. Crayon blue, red, yellow and orngine, as Little Guy says. And since I like to let them have their way on issues that really matter …

The guys were happy with the final result, though it took Little Guy a while. He first had to have hysterics because the new Thomas the Tank Engine ornaments – a gift from Favorite Aunt – went on the tree instead of in the toy box. Eventually, Big Guy and I convinced him that Thomas and Percy had to be at the top of the tree, to guard it while we weren’t home.

“The teddy bears might fight,” Big Guy said. Dueling ornaments probably isn’t the appropriate spirit for the season, but the notion seemed to mollify Little Guy.

This evening, relaxing in the still of a cold night and gazing at lights, I quit missing the Martha tree. It might have been long on style, but it was missing other things.

Its chief shortage: The warmth of the guys, which makes Christmas kitsch truly beautiful.

Copyright 2007 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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  • ParentingPink said:

    This post is timeless! As you well know, I am the queen of tacky when it comes to Christmas decorating – thanks to my kids.

    I love Thomas the Train and I will be happy to trade you the Hannah Montana guitar for it. LOL

    Glad to know that other moms pull out the colored lights when their first child is born. The things we do for our kids!

  • Debra said:

    I think Big Guy would make that deal with you. He loves guitars, and his favorite thing to do lately to tick off Boots is to proclaim how much he hates Thomas. He even likes Hannah Montana because his older cousins are into her.