Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Deck 'Em

Every year on November 1st, something crazy happens to me.  I magically transform from a reasonable, slightly snarky, ever-so-jaded thirty-something woman into my Meemaw.  As Halloween skulls and candy corn quickly disappear from shelves all over America only to be replaced immediately by mistletoe and flocked wreaths, my attitude experiences a shift.  Any second now, I'll slip into a Texas drawl and the metamorphosis will be complete.

My Meemaw approaches living as if life itself needs to be decorated.  Her favorite knickknacks are referred to as her "purties" and she has decorations for every holiday, season, and event you could dream up.  Need a President's Day mailbox cover?  Ask Meemaw.  Maybe you've always wondered what the proper flower arrangement would be for a blue house during the Holiday Season?  At Meemaw's it's plastic blue poinsettias, of course!  What else?!  My grandmother was a preacher's wife so she always lived in parsonages, lovely houses that she wasn't able to Über~Decorate because they belonged to the church.  As soon as my grandfather retired and they moved into a place of their own, it was covered with decorations within a month.  We're talking rubber animals in the trees, more birdhouses than there were birds in Texas and enough wind chime bells to make a buttload of angels get a buttload of wings.

Christmas was the epitome of Meemaw's decorating mania; the climax of the year and a great excuse to go mental.  Her house always exploded with shiny synthetic Christmas cheer.  She passed this gene along to my mother, a woman who owns at least a dozen nativity sets, a giant Santa Claus and so many angel tree-toppers that the shelf they reside on in the hall closet has it's own zip code.  (No, really, it does.) My dear mother also has an iPod full of Christmas music.  She could play Christmas carols for 127 days straight with no interruption and probably would if my father would let her.  (He collects guns instead of ornaments, so that will probably never happen.)

Because I have a very real fear of becoming an old lady in a candy cane sweater, I have tried to squash the crazy Christmas chic deep down.  I attempt to let her exist in the dark halls of my subconscious.  But, the older I get, the more she wants to deck those halls.  To appease her, I tell myself I can decorate the day after Thanksgiving, not a second before.  This is, after all, a month before the holiday.  A very reasonable rule and one that I think might save my marriage.  But, I'm fighting heredity here.  This year, November 1st saw me looking around my house, wondering if the Christmas tree would look good in front of the window instead of in the corner and musing about how many new purties I could get away with buying if I go somewhere cheap like Target and don't tell the husband about them.

And then there's the present issue.  Gifts were serious business in the Alvey household growing up and I am merely a product of my environment.  It's perfectly reasonable to have a post-it on my computer today, November 10th, that has the names of all my loved ones and what I intend to purchase for them this year including stocking stuffers,  right?   And the "wish list" I have created on isn't insane, it's a smart way to let people know what I want, right?


For now, I think I've got my secret candy cane-sweater-wearing-self under control.  She cannot decorate or shop until after Thanksgiving and she cannot own more than one plastic bin of decorations.  I'm quite strict with her festive ass.  But, the future has me concerned.  I can feel her down there waiting to burst forth.  She's wrapped in tinsel and singing "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer" at high wobbly decibels like all my female relatives before me.  Maybe I'll drown her in eggnog so she'll pass out until at least December.

*photo by aliciagriffin.