We don’t believe Christmas decorations are decor. They are symbols. They are family. As such, to be revered, experienced for meaning, and rarely changed. Everything has to be highly traditional, as in, the way your grandmother did it, or completely kitsch*. As in the lit-up Santa I bought on West 14th Street in Manhattan that flashed red and played a digital version of Jingle Bells.
Christmas tree lights? Um, white. They can be shaped like pine cones if you like. Or little candles on branches. Colors? Um, red, green, gold, even silver, if you feel daring. Theme? Um, Christmas?
We put angels up even when we’re not religious. Especially those from our grandmother’s Austro-Hungarian 2nd husband. He didn’t give us his family’s court sword. Would have been tough to hang on a tree, no?
Ornaments? Anything you like. Just don’t let them match. Stuff made by kids, by you, bought at the Stanford Shopping Center, bought the year you moved into your new house, bought the year you moved out. Fish. Fish are good. They are however, as my son once said to the great amusement of my best friend, dumb. From Gumps, home of the greatest traditional glass ornaments ever.
Other decorations? As long as you adhere to the principles above, anything goes. A creche? Sure. Hand-carved and from another culture, even better. Garlands of greenery? Sure, especially ones that smell good and are tied with plaid bows. Red and green plaid bows, goes without saying. Tiffany bowls full of ornaments on your table? Yes*. Again, have to be red, green, gold or, well, you get the picture. We apologize but we cannot countenance aqua at Christmas. Or lavender. Blue is OK and Hannukah is great and if you have a cultural holiday with a color association that falls around Christmas just let us know. We will support you and celebrate you. But Christmas is red and green and gold, and, well, you get the picture.
Want something new? 2010 appears to beg for resurgence and reemergence all around? Mix high and low. Handmade and mass market. Tell a story that reminds you of Christmas. Which to us means home. In this case, home, not house. Sometimes house decorations do make home. Clear? No? Like I said, we’re kind of pills about Christmas. But good with making sure you have enough to drink. And enough light to read by. Me, I’m building a little imaginary Scandinavian village. Where elves live under the shade of pink glass tree-ish things. Happy Holidays to all. Don’t mind us. Another glass of Scotch and we’ll be quiet.