Resisting the Pressure of Early Holiday Decorating

Finding the motivation normally presents itself after the end of November, when the rotting pumpkins finally get thrown away.

I envy the organized souls who manage to fully decorate their homes for the holidays before the Thanksgiving leftovers ripen and the refrigerator clears of expired odors. How is this possible? Where do they find the motivation? I just dumped the last of of the cranberry relish, while some of my neighbors hung evergreen wreaths with ribbon. From the street, illuminated candles shine brightly in each window and the Christmas trees are up, trimmed and ready for Santa. No pressure.  

I finally tossed the dead mums left over from Halloween, yet a rotting pumpkin managed to find its way behind one of the rhododendron bushes. Until recently, it provided much needed nourishment for the spastic squirrels of South Main Street. Its shredded pulp and seeds had scattered around the yard.

Although the intentions of transporting the remains to the compost pile was a priority, other distractions always seemed to follow. Above the decomposing (and frozen) pumpkin, the autumn wreath on the front door sits outdated; cold, alone, awkward and sad ... like the previous season’s 75 percent off rack at Target.  

Venturing down to the cellar, pulling out the ten-plus bins of red and green Rubbermaid containers, takes a little persuasion. When the children were younger, there was much excitement and anticipation with the decorating. I’ve found that with age comes less motivation and pressure ... at least in my house. There’s more of a priority to clean up one messy holiday before making another. I need time to recuperate  from the gluttonous nature of Thanksgiving, clear the head and mentally prepare for the tornado of Christmas cheer.  

We all love the traditional decor of the holidays. The smell of pine, the evergreen garland on the staircase, the tree and lights, the expanding collection of nutcrackers and the bright poinsettias placed about the house. We used to switch out the everyday dishes with Christmas dishes. Unfortunately, the box seemed to get heavier each year, making it less of a prerequisite for decorating neurosis. 

Transforming the house to the traditional holiday decor, is no Norman Rockwell painting. It takes work, a little bit of skill, organization, a few arguments and many hands. We usually decorate as a family, but since the kids are active teenagers, coordinating their schedules with ours requires a trick or two. Sure, it will all get done, but unlike more organized individuals, I’d prefer to wait for December or until the squirrels finish dining on their prized pumpkin.    

It seems everywhere I go, more and more people are ahead of the game. Year after year, the holiday madness seems to begin earlier and earlier. People waiting in line for super savings, Christmas cards already wedged in the mail pile, holiday party RSVP’s sent out and Christmas music in every grocery store, restaurant and mall. Shoppers compete for parking while retailers advertise, “Black Friday all month.” Joy to the world! 

I’m beginning to feel like a minority with Scrooge-like tendencies. Getting up at 3 a.m. to elbow my way through fellow consumers doesn’t interest me. I’d rather go at my own pace, enjoy each holiday with family, get rid of the turkey leftovers, then reboot when December arrives. No pressure.  

Sally Peters December 03, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Cami - That's why it's Festivus for the Rest of Us! No decorating, no gifts! Celebrating the Soltice is our choice!
Ron Peterson December 03, 2012 at 03:06 PM
"...cold, alone, awkward and sad...like the previous season's 75 percent off rack at Target." Cami: you're more and more the poet of the suburbs.
Dottie Konarski December 03, 2012 at 04:07 PM
So well put! Want to feel even more pressured? I walked into Ocean State Job Lot in East Hartford/Manchester Saturday and, while the Christmas music played, there was a HUGE display of flower and vegetable seeds encouraging us to think spring when fall hasn't even had a chance to end!
Elaine O'Brien December 04, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Great column, you have articulated the secret thoughts of many of us. I love looking at the beautiful displays of those with decorating talent but my pumpkins are still rotting outside also. :)


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