3 Simple Rules To Make Your Yuletide Joyful

I’M A CHEERFUL CYNIC about this time of the year.  Not really a fan of all the seasonal hoopla, but I can see the positive in it.

So as my last blog post of the year, I’ll leave you, gentle readers, with 3 simple rules.

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1)  PLAY NICE WITH OTHERS.

2)  BE GOOD TO YOUR FAMILY.

3)  MAKE THINGS PRETTY.

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AND WITH THAT, I say to you an Irish toast:

“Merry met and merry part, I drink to thee with all my heart.”

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year, everyone.

See you next year.

Discerning The Real Purpose Of A Christmas Tree Skirt

•  Just this week friends gave us a wonderful holiday present.  We now have a beautiful quilted, velvet Christmas tree skirt, monogrammed with our name, under our tree.

This is a huge step up from our previous faded cotton, mis-stitched, puny Christmas tree skirt, that I purchased in a fit of cheap, when it was on sale at Lowe’s after the holidays.

•  Our new perfect Christmas tree skirt has reminded of two things.

First, my mother, who enjoyed the giving and baking aspects of Christmas, did not care for Christmas decorating.  AT ALL.  Her example definitely rubbed off on me.  Case in point?  No nice Christmas tree skirt for us when I’m left in charge.

Second, I remembered Bernice [“you little fruitcake”], from Designing Women, wearing her Christmas tree skirt gift as a piece of clothing.  It’s one of those classic sit-com moments that can still get me giggling.  Timeless, you know?

•  So without further ado, and with a hat tip to memories past, I give you today’s chuckle.  Enjoy, my friends.

How I Plan To Have A Happy Holiday Season This December

#1 – Decorate outside early. Decorate everywhere simply.

Slowly our neighborhood is transforming into a holiday wonderland.

Those of us who don’t do Black Friday spent last Friday, a warmish, dry day, putting out holiday decorations.  Everyone who I saw outside seemed happy, although a few people were mowing their lawns for reasons unclear to me.

But whatevs.

We never do more exterior decorating than a couple of lighted wreaths on two windows and a few nets of multi-colored lights on some bushes by the front door.

As for the inside of the house, we’ve gone with one skinny decorated Christmas tree in the TV room, a small jingle bell wreath on the hutch in the kitchen, an antique nativity scene in the dining room, a growing Amaryllis in the living room + a stack of cutesy decorative boxes in the foyer in place of fresh flowers.

EZPZ.  And it’s festive enough.

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#2 – Do not have a big holiday office party at The house.

For the first time in five years we aren’t having a holiday party on the first Friday in December.

This means that we haven’t needed to move half of our furniture into the basement or garage so that our 50+ guests have somewhere to stand.  We don’t have cases of wine and beer and other libations piled in the garage.

We aren’t running to the grocery to buy all the ingredients to make dips and create cheese plates.  And we have not ordered even one plate of sandwiches or cookies that need to be picked up after 4:00 pm the day of the party.

To say I feel carefree and giddy this week is an understatement.

Not being a hostess rocks. 

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#3 – Disengage from the holiday crazy whenever possible.

Considering I decided that 2015 would be the year of the recluse, my holiday social calendar is delightfully almost empty.

To wit, I’m doing one special event each week in December.  This way I hope to not be overwhelmed with travel and holiday attire and food + booze and Christmas-obsessed extraverted people who inexplicably enjoy this time of year.

Nope, this year I’m putting myself in the holiday mood by avoiding as much of the holiday hoopla as I can.

Paradoxical, perhaps.  But that’s my happy plan.

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AND YOU, MY GENTLE READERS, WHAT’S UP WITH YOU THIS MONTH OF FORCED FRIVOLITY DECEMBER?  TELL ALL IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.

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My Last Post Of 2013: Tidings Of Amazement & Joy

Looking at my calendar and contemplating the next few weeks, I’ve decided to skedaddle out of here.  Bug out, if you will.  Depart.  There will be no more posting to this blog, The Spectacled Bean, until next year.

Let’s call 2013 a done deal, shall we?

But first before I go, I give you the following video: How To Wrap A Cat For Christmas.  This video, which has been around since 2009, is new to me.  If you’ve ever lived with a cat, this video will amaze you.  Confound you.  Inspire you, even.

I dunno, I’ve never seen anything like it before.

And with that, all that’s left for me to add here is this lovely blessing that I found inside a holiday greeting card.  The words resonated with me, so I shall share them with you, my gentle readers.

Merry Christmas, everyone.  And a Happy New Year, too.

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“May the magic of the season warm your heart…

may you find hope and peace in the quiet moments spent with those you love,

and may your holiday be filled with everything that brings you joy.”

~ Victoria Barone

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Remember Coco Chanel’s Advice & Do Not Overdress Your Christmas Tree

“Once you’ve dressed, and before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off.”

~ Coco Chanel

<a rant>

People, you are putting too many ornaments on your Christmas trees.  And it is time for you to stop this nonsense.

A Christmas tree decorated to excess is not pretty.  And I find that it creates one of those awkward social encounters when I realize that I must use a bit of Southern charm to smooth over the situation:

“Why bless your little heart, your tree is tres ya-ya no.”

It is too much.

Have you actually looked at your tree?  Hmm?  Probably not because you cannot see your tree with all that stuff hanging all over it.

This kind of decorating is tacky.  And I don’t care if you saw the same thing at some Victorian home holiday open house OR in an upscale home decor catalog OR at a turn-of-the-century industrialist’s mansion decorated for Christmas.

It is too much.

Perhaps you do not understand the concept of negative space as applied to interior design?

Or maybe you think it is a status thing to cover every square centimeter of your Christmas tree with ornaments and lights and bows and tinsel?

Or then again, like this ridiculous woman would have us believe, maybe you think that commercialism is the basis of Christmas so you want to spend, spend, spend on ornaments?

Truly, I do not understand your motivations.  But to those of you who insist on having your Christmas tree overdressed to the point where the needles on the tree branches are no longer visible, I feel comfortable telling you that:

“Honey, you’re doing it wrong.  Listen to Coco.”

It is too much.

</a rant>