Friday, December 4, 2009

Why I Will Bother To Decorate

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Right now I am the proud owner of a wonderful conglomeration of household décor that has been pieced together from hand-me-downs, garage sales, the side of the road, and the landlord’s girlfriend. My house was assembled with these items, with tasseled embroidered curtains in the living room, long white woven curtains in the kitchen, and wallpaper border that mirrors the shower curtain, accented with lavender paint. And even though it may not be to my taste, or coordinated it is better than nothing.

I visited a friend from high school last week, whose apartment felt so warm and inviting. There was a color scheme (what a thought) and throw pillows and rugs and curtains…and the contrast to my own mismatched décor was striking. Things fit together. They did not just function or serve a purpose, they were beautiful.

Every morning when I wake up I (somewhat) decide whether I want to be functional or fashionable. Do I grab the khaki pants and the comfortable sweater? Or do I don the tights and heels and complimenting skirt and cardigan?

And now, in the midst of a holiday season grows another dilemma: Do I decorate?

Now I’m not so much of a scrooge as to pass on holiday decorations as a rule, but this year they don’t seem so worthwhile. First of all, I’m the only one that will be living in our apartment until after Christmas…do I assemble decorations—just for me? Second, I’ll be out of town part of the month anyway…do I hang decorations—just for two weeks? Third, compared to my good friend (the holiday decoration queen) my selection of all things red, green and sparkly is mediocre and lacking—at best…do I arrange decorations—even if they are pitiful?

She promises to come and admire my half-hearted attempt, despite my submission to her reign.

While the lack of décor comes from limitations in finances and the absence of fashion comes from lack of energy, I have come to the conclusion that lack of gusto for Christmas decorations comes from an abundance of practicality. I love all things sensible, functional and realistic. Holiday decorating is none of those things. (Neither are wedding cakes, long hair or meticulously crafted cards). But despite my practical leanings, I also am drawn to that which is beautiful and creative, even if slightly frivolous.

And holiday decorating (and creatively assembled outfits, and thoughtful home décor) is all of those things.

So rather than letting everything remain packed neatly away in two boxes in the attic, I will set our two foot Christmas tree on the end table, circle it with lights and dutifully turn it on and off as I come and go. I will hang spools of ribbon from the picture frames and garlands from the curtain rods. And I will sip egg nog while sitting on gold velvet, listening to a constant stream of holiday tunes, appreciating the beauty—even if it is impractical.

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