Fa la la la la

We’ve never put up a Christmas tree. We’re never home at Christmas, so we couldn’t see the point. Plus, with our tiny narrow condo and crazy jungle kitten, we were discouraged from attempting any holiday décor. Anything climbable, shiny and/or dangly was just a bad idea in our household.

This year we are hosting Christmas at home and with our families coming over we’re feeling obligated to deck our halls. We have a much larger space now and the crazy kitten is now 7 years old (44 in cat years, apparently) so we bought a tree. It’s artificial. We thought it would be best as a starter tree so we wouldn’t have to worry about water and a mess of pine needles if the cats decided to pull it down.

We bought it on Monday and I’ve spent the week obsessed with decorating it. It’s been coming together slowly as I have been dropping by the various stores around town picking up ornaments. “You’re not going to go overboard, are you?” Jeremy asked as I handed him and armload of festive crap to hold onto in a Canadian Tire store. I needed to free my hands for more. “I draw the line at a miniature Dickensian village” he informed me.

Last night I got together with my friend, Jenny to pay a visit to the Southworks antique market in Cambridge in search of glass balls. The antique market is always fun and full of interesting and peculiar things, including this:

(Jenny, who is proudly without shame, posed for a somewhat vulgar photo with this statue but I thought I’d keep this post PG.)

When we were finished mocking and desecrating mother earth, I found a plethora of beautiful old ornaments that now hang on our tree.

Now, if you’ve been reading carefully, you’re probably wondering why I’m hanging delicate antique ornaments on a tree that I’m worried about out cats knocking over. I know it’s probably a bad idea. Unfortunately, my vision of the ideal tree conflicts with the reality of my environment. I have to admit, I’ve been holding my breath every time I peek in the living room.

So far, so good.

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Let’s Work Together For a Happy Holiday

Over the past few days there’s been a noticeable increase in traffic around suburbia. Check-out lines at the grocery store are significantly longer. The mall is getting crowded. There are just more people everywhere. ‘Tis the season.

When I got to the post office yesterday there was a huge line where I’m used to there being no line at all. Each one of us with an armload of packages all needing to be measured and weighed for posting. While I stood waiting with the other customers, many of them huffy and irritable, I started making a list of ways that we can collectively make the holidays more pleasant as we are forced to share public space while we prepare for our festivities.

Here are a few of my suggestions:

I have included a diagram of a typical mall parking lot grid below. Please note the areas that are NOT parking spaces. Parking in any non-designated area blocks the flow of traffic and compromises the safety of other parking lot users.

On that note, you may have to park farther away from the mall than you are used to. If this is a problem for you, please consider shopping in July.

Young children who won’t stay with their pack should be leashed. I’m not joking. I spent several holiday seasons working for a large bookstore and I recall us having to lockdown the store many times to search for rogue rugrats. It’s disruptive and terrifying for everyone. Also, the store is not a playground.

The world moves much faster than the elderly can. Cut them some slack. Don’t forget, you too will be old someday and karma is a bitch.

Stores hire a lot of new people for the holiday season. Your cashier might still be wet behind the ears. Have some compassion for the new girl/boy.

If you work in retail – I’m really sorry your manager underestimated the volume of customers and you co-workers called in sick, leaving your store understaffed. That’s not my fault. Please don’t take it out on me, your customer.

While you’re waiting in line to pay for your purchase, use that free time to locate your method of payment. Waiting until you reach the front of the line to rummage though your purse and pockets for your wallet holds everyone up and you just become part of the problem.

Give generously to your local food bank. There are a lot of families that need a good meal, way more than you need a 52” Plasma HD television or a PS3.

Basically, if we all just calm down and play nice we can all have a lovely holiday season. With a little patience and common courtesy we can all get though this together.

Peace.

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