‘Tis the Season for Split Personality (not to mention split pants seams)


Here’s a first world problem for you: do you find yourself torn between getting caught up in the ‘holiday spirit’ while feeling a bit icky about all the excess consumption? Of course you do; it’s inevitable this time of year. On one hand we want to honour this special occasion by decorating, baking & cooking, and giving gifts. On the other hand, this all takes so much time, energy, and money, and puts a strain on the earth’s resources as well as pressure on manufacturing economies to maximize profits on the backs of workers.

Case in point, and my current dilemma: I’m hosting the whole family at my home for the holidays, and I’d like to make it “Christmas-y” for them, even thought it’s not something I usually spend too much time doing when it’s just my husband and I. I’m dithering over buying a tree for the first time ever (I usually just decorate a tiny potted evergreen I have in the house year-round), and I find myself considering buying decorations ranging from new holiday-themed cloth napkins to a seasonal door mat and seasonal throw pillows in the living room. Then I stop and think, ‘CRAZY!’. Money, resources, time, all put into a few tchotchkes that will only be used once a year. And I’ll have to find storage in my house for them the other 11 months! And yet, there’s the feeling of being the Grinch — why not just enjoy all the trappings of the season?

I was invited to a new year’s party last year at the home of a friend-of-a-family member, people I’d never met before and am unlikely to see again. They had a beautiful home, and every inch of it had been converted to Christmas decor. They had the biggest Christmas tree I’d ever seen. All the towels in the bathrooms and kitchen were Christmas towels. The handsoap was a special holiday scent. Frames containing family photos throughout the house were all Christmas-themed. Artwork on the walls were Christmas prints. Kleenex boxes were covered in Christmas images. Napkins, throws, pillows, candlesticks, you name it, all were part of the Christmas theme. It honestly made me feel a bit nauseous, despite trying not to judge what obviously was a source of pleasure, even a hobby, for the home owners. (Where do they put all this stuff the rest of the year, I kept wondering. You’d need a whole separate room for storage. And do they do this for other holidays throughout the year, too?)

What do you think? Do you go all out for the sheer pleasure of enjoying the holidays, or do you have smaller ways to enjoy the season without overdoing it? How do you balance the conflicting feelings — if you feel conflicted at all? I’m interested to know. In any case, I hope you are enjoying a happy and healthy holiday season, no matter how you do it. And may all your pants seams remain intact during holiday feasts. xo

Addendum, two days later: I caved, a bit. Went to local dollar store and hardware store and bought two strings of icicle lights, three Christmas stockings, gift bags and cookie tins. All made in China. But I somehow managed to resist the 10-foot, inflatable, light-up Santa-playing-hockey so give me some friggin’ credit, K? 😉

4 thoughts on “‘Tis the Season for Split Personality (not to mention split pants seams)

  1. It’s a tough one I’ll admit. I usually just decorate the living room and a couple of vignettes close by, but now use what I already have. Add a couple fresh flowers and call it a day. However! I have to have SOME nod to Christmas – I could never just let the season sail by unnoticed.


  2. I would love to deck the house out seasonally. All out Christmas (though my style is more woodland winter than big red Santa, ou know?), all out Valentine’s day, etc. But the thing is, I don’t like a lot of what’s in stores (I will never ever do Christmas towels). I like making the decorations and well, there isn’t enough time for that. So it ends up less over the top which might be good from a stylistic point of vue! Also, with two kids involved in the projects (3 and 7), the projects never turn out quite Martha Stewart perfect, you know?

    I have to say I get some real joy when we decorate the tree and the living room. Taking out the stockings I knit for my girls and hanging them. Taking out each ornament and remembering where it’s from. I still have one that a friend gave me for my 6th birthday, 30 years ago! An owl on skates… The girls get to pick an ornament at the Hallmark store every year (I wanted to do handmade ones every year but they’re surprisingly hard to find). So we have a couple Disney princesses in the tree. And those school made photo and paper ornaments… Even the glass balls are special because my husband and I bought them when we had our first tree together. It’s a lot to store and it certainly doesn’t look like a designer tree but it makes me happy. And now I feel all mushy…


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