The Chill Pills Are Working

Last year, I got a bee in my bonnet about having a perfectly matched Christmas tree. I excommunicated all the tattered and handmade ornaments to a mini tree which I relegated to the sunroom, and informed the family that only the pre-designated red and gold ornaments could be hung on the official Christmas tree.

I then tried to sell the mini tree to my offspring as a very special tree they could decorate in any way they pleased (even though I snuck back during the dead of night to re-arrange their handiwork), but they saw right through the chicanery. One child was so upset that she did not come out of her room for two hours. I recognized the folly of my ways eventually, but not before ruining Christmas Decorating Day and creating traumatic memories that my children will need years of therapy to work through

That’s why last weekend, before we hauled out all the Christmas stuff, the P-Dawg said, “Are you going to do that thing again where you don’t let the kids put up their favorite ornaments?”

“Of course not. I made a mistake last year. They can hang any ornament anywhere and any which way they like.”

When we hauled out the boxes, my daughter approached me and asked very timidly, “Mama, which ornaments are we allowed to put on the tree?”

It was then that the shriveled up husk I call a heart disintegrated altogether.

“There are no restrictions on ornament placement this year,” I told her. I’m sorry I was such a jerk.

Then I sat back and watched them go to town. What’s more, I was able to restrain myself from moving even one single ornament from the branch it was clustered on with three or five of its low hanging friends.

And I’ll let you in on another secret: When I put up the banister garland, I did not loop it around the rungs using a precise, mathematical pattern as I have done in the past. In some places, garland is bunched together and in other places it’s spread out. Also,  there is about three feet of garland with malfunctioning lights right in the middle of the whole she-bang, which I’m choosing to pretend does not exist.

As a casual observer you may not even notice this, but for me it’s a personal victory. One which I tend to perseverate on when I wake up in the middle of the night with a sudden urge to re-hang the banister garland, but a victory nevertheless.

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7 thoughts on “The Chill Pills Are Working

  1. magpie

    Oh! Are you me? I did exactly the same thing last year – I exiled all the crappy unbreakable ornaments to a tree in my kid’s room – a gold tinsel tree, at that. Where you aren’t me is that she LOVED it. My husband hates that tree with a passion though, it sheds.

  2. alejna

    Rima, once again you crack me up. Thank you for giving me a laugh this early in the morning! I loved this post.

    As for me, I have shed much of many of my OCD tendencies over the years. In my case, the laziness has helped. It is often easier to leave things! (But I still do battle regularly with the urge to micromanage. Phoebe had to make a poster for school, and I was very proud of myself for only dictating gently suggesting about 30% of the content and layout. Or maybe 40%. Still, it was *mostly* her. Big progress.)

  3. Kat

    I swear to you, we are twins. I even have a separate tree with gold and red ornaments. But I do allow the kids to put them on, unless they are fighting and clawing at each other as usual. I have such beautiful visions of how it is all gonna go, but it never quite turns out that way. Do you remember my post from our traumatic decorating experience last year? It was not good. I’m praying it goes better this year. ;)
    Well done letting go! You are a better woman than I. I know FOR SURE I will be sneaking around rehanging ornaments when no one is looking. I’m crazy.

  4. Marta

    I definitely hang some of the ornaments in a very precise way, the “pretty ones.” Now that Ben’s older we’ll see if he wants to do more than just hang the silver and blue bulbs.

    Good job relinquishing control!

  5. Becca

    This is awesome!! Our tree is a chaotic mix of preschool art projects, dough ornaments finger-painted by small children, and fragile, expensive ornaments given to us by our inlaws and it got put up so fast that there was no time to fluff the fake needles and it looks like the Charlie Brown tree. But I love it!

    Hilarious post!

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