Christmas decorating: a confession

I confess!

I’m not a decorator.

I don’t enjoy decorating.

Case in point: I had to set up a tree in my office at work, and this stressed me out much more than the Quickbooks confusion over a mysterious credit memo or that irate customer claiming we sent the wrong products.

That dang Christmas tree had me in cold sweats.

And that is why, in our house, the only attempt at a “Christmas tree” that we have undertaken is . . . well . . . mebbe 2 feet tall?

Here’s my husband with the box . . .

. . . pulling it out of the box . . .

. . . and thar she blows.

Nestled in a corner next to the radiator, poor thing. And with only two ornaments on top–matching silver and gold stars that shed glitter wherever they may go.

I realize that if we have children, we’ll have to obtain a Christmas tree and actually put up garlands or something, because I remember how magical it was to see the house transformed when I was a tot. And a teenager. And heck, it’s kind of magical even now. So I want to provide that same experience for any progeny we may have. Yes, the future does hold more seasonal decorating for this resistant girl, but you know–let’s not think about that right now, because my heart is starting to palpitate strangely fast.

You think I’m joking about those heart palpitations, but I can assure you I’m not.

However, all that said, I am proud to share that this year we strung twinkle lights around the window. My dear husband did the hard work of getting them down from the closet . . .

(actually getting the stuff out is 99% of the battle for me) . . . and believe it or not, I actually had fun putting them up!

Maybe because I got to balance on the window sill and feel like an acrobat, push tacks into the wall and feel like a hooligan.

And I do love lying on the couch and gazing at the lights while Christmas music plays in the background . . . I guess it was worth those 40 minutes of effort.

Right . . . “effort.” Maybe it was actually 10 minutes of effort and 30 minutes of figuring out how to place all the decorations on my own self.

So maybe my whole “I don’t like decorating” thing is just a mental block. Maybe it’s just for lack of actually doing it and tackling the beast. Maybe it’s the idea of decorating that stresses me out, but if I can just get into execution mode, I’ll find there’s an inner decorator waiting to spring forth.

This is probably the most decorated our house has ever been. Maybe next year I’ll go a teensy step further and hang a wreath somewhere.

But let’s not get too crazy!

Do you like to decorate? Does it stress you out or invigorate you? If you’re in the former category, do you have a tried-and-true method for overcoming the stress?

18 thoughts on “Christmas decorating: a confession

  1. Kay

    Since I grew up never decorating for any American holidays, I get so overwhelmed every Christmas. Though I would like to have beautifully decorated homes like my friends, it is too much for me mentally! I do have a Christmas wreath up and still working on getting the tree…..I like your tree idea very much!

  2. Kimby

    Loved your “glitter star” shot and “decorated Jenna!” That last shot made me think of Handel’s Messiah wafting around in your beautiful, peaceful living room.

    Truthfully, I don’t mind decorating — it’s the putting away part that gets to me. My Christmas decorations have been known to see the light of day in February… 🙂

  3. Julia Menn

    I enjoy putting up the decorations at the WI house when I get home for Christmas – fire roaring, music going, my dad working in his office after hauling out the many boxes of decorations, and me and my mom putting them up in the living room – I always enjoy that. But it’s pretty stress free. The time I had to help put lights on the tree = not so wonderful. But I hear they already got the tree up and lights on, so now I get to go home and do the easy part of decorating it beautifully 🙂

    The thought of decorating my OWN apartment, however, lacks all the contributing magical factors to make it worthwhile and enjoyable. But we still have the string of lights my rm put up last year in our living room – they look great all year round 🙂

    1. Jenna Post author

      Yes! Decorating at my parent’s house would be a different story. I guess it’s harder to create your own Christmas magic from scratch.

  4. Laura

    It stresses me out!!! I do like to look at them when they are done though. When I was little, I would help take the things out of the boxes and hand them to the rest of my family to decorate. I would hang up my ornaments though. Now it just seems like too much effort.

    1. Jenna Post author

      I think there’s something about having a whole family do the decorating as a project that makes it more fun–and easier to jump into without stress.

  5. Suzie

    I used to love decorating inside the house, with Christmas music playing to get me in the spirit. I would like to decorate the outside of my house but, it’s an older home and I have no exterior outlets 🙁 (My hubs keeps saying he’ll add some for me but, all he’s gotten accomplished in 6 years is the garage outlets…lol!). This year however with my son being away for Christmas and Christmas dinner at my MIL’s house, I just didn’t have the mojo to decorate. I miss the tree the most because I always liked falling asleep with the tree lit up. Maybe next year, I’ll force myself to decorate…even if it’s a mini-tree like yours 🙂 Your house looks nice, I like your decorations and I like decorated Jenna too!

    1. Veronica Miller

      Suzie, that’s what I used to do too! I LOVED playing Christmas music while Dennis and I hung ornaments on the tree and sipped hot cocoa! I think my Christmas spirit died a Sroogey death! lol

  6. giselle

    I think your kids will definitely grow up in a house so full of Christmas joy. I can’t wait to see pictures and hear stories. =)

  7. Tracy

    Haha I like the photo of the decorations on you; so fun. 🙂 We usually decorate some; we never go too crazy, but I haven’t much this year mostly out of laziness. 😛

  8. Veronica Miller

    “But let’s not get too crazy!” LOL! Love the pic of you as the tree, Jenna. 🙂 You know, I grew up not celebrating holidays so I went CRAZY with the decorating as soon as I had my first apartment. Decorating neither stresses or invigorates me, but sometimes I’m just TOO practical and for the last three years, I haven’t decorated for anything because it’s so much work to get everything out and then put it back up that I think “what’s the point?” Well the point is that it makes the house very cheerful and it’s a joy to experience the season in such a way that you feel it in every room. But I still don’t feel like getting out the tree. 🙂 BTW, If you put your little tree on a table, maybe the one beside it, it will look more impressive. And you could put those little gift box ornaments (Dollar stores $1 for like 6-8) around it…or just wrap some tiny boxes. I think it’d be cute. 🙂

  9. Skippymom

    I think the stress comes from a fear of failure or not having it look “just so” – like the magazines and other’s look. Your home looks like a magazine spread, so cute, I am sure you would want your decorations to look similar.

    My husband and I started with nothing but four kids our first Christmas – and we spent what little money we had to decorate. It wasn’t perfect, not by a long shot, but it made the kids happy and they loved “helping”. Over the years we have slowly, but surely, added our own touches and collectibles to our stash of decorations and now we have a house full. You’ll never find any of on the pages of Martha or O, but it sure does make our grown children smile and play the “Remember when….we made that…or bought that….or Noni gaves us that?” And it makes Mom & Dad happy too, because we remember.

    You don’t need kids to decorate – but if you want a decorated house start small and just keep adding. Eventually you’ll need a whole closet for all the stuff. 😀 [Believe me, that’s way down the line, when you have a place that actually has a spare closet. :)]

    Decorating should never make anyone stress, nor does it have to be “perfect” – it only has to make you happy. Like the white lights.

  10. Twinky

    I have always loved decorating for Christmas, lighted garlands being my all-time favorite item over the windows…. looks like the apple hasn’t fallen too far from the tree!! That Sunday after Thanksgiving was always the day to put on the Christmas music and put up the tree and decorations. In the end, putting it all away wasn’t too bad either, since by Three Kings Day (Jan 6) I was well sated and ready for a change to move on into the new year. The neighbor in Zaragoza thought we were way over the top, esp with the lights strung on the outside balcony railings, but I didn’t care what he or anyone else thought! There indeed is something magical about the soft little twinkle lights and the ambience they give with music in the background and a hot beverage in hand!!

    What is hard now is to realize I haven’t “decorated” for fully 3 years (or is it 4…can’t remember if I did any decorating while finishing the remodeling in Madrid…), but I am already thinking about the house and what I want to do for next Christmas! I have my eyes on what’s out there so I can hit the after-Christmas sales =). OH! And the Playmobile Creche!! I am debating about where to set it up where little James won’t be tempted beyond what he is able to bear… “Destructo-boy meets Baby Jesus” isn’t what I have in mind!

    Your decorations look quite lovely. Don’t worry about any of it. Just enjoy what you have and who you have it with!! Luv U

  11. Jennifer Beach

    I love Christmas! It’s always been a holiday that holds such a mixed feeling of curiosity, enjoyment, thrill, excitement, and anticipation. Ergo, I enjoy decorating for the season. I do appreciate the simpler side: Lights, greenery, christmas-inspired art, a tree, a creche, etc. No crazy lawn decorations or multiple Christmas trees or snowmen in every corner. Just something that’s quiet yet bespeaks the festivity and joy of this season of celebration.

  12. Tonya

    Girl! Your hubby is going to be thankful I live half a nation away from you right now. Walmart had the CUTEST 4 ft trees on sale today, I would’ve totally got you one and brought it over, along with some other holiday cheer/decor, and a wreath, definitely a wreath. We could call it Extreme Holiday Makeover: The Jenna & Tonya Edition. LOL 🙂 I’m just giving you a hard time. Your home looks lovely, I think the lights over the windows are the perfect touch! ~T
    P.S. Your adorably teeny tree, would be oh-so darling on a small round side table. (check Hobby Lobby) It would make it seem larger and more of a focal point, plus bonus, it’d give you a place to set your tea the other 330 days a year. ALSO, I saw at Walmart today, the CUTEST mini decorations for little adorable trees just like yours…..Ready, for this?! They were only $2 a package! What?! That is like the bargain of the century right there! And they were C-U-T-E…..


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