It's not about the house.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Christmas Tree, Part 3: The Candy Canes

I’m skipping over the garland because I still don’t have a working camera (I’ll post later about that whole saga) and I really do need to show you pictures of my garland for you to understand. Well, maybe not “need” to, but when you see it, you’ll understand why I want every ounce of credit for it, damnit!

But I figure you already know what candy canes look like. So I can go ahead and spell out the rules regarding them and you can make up your own mental images. (By which I mean pictures in your minds, not images that are actually mental in nature. That would be weird.).


Rule #1: Red and white. Period.*

2. Be very careful when you buy them. Sometimes the red bleeds into the white a little and the whole thing winds up kind of pink. This is unacceptable. Also, there has to be the perfect ratio of red-to-white, which can be extremely difficult to achieve. Go to a couple different stores if you have to. Fortunately for this rule, they start selling candy canes as soon as Halloween is over, so you have plenty of time to shop around.

(2.a. Don’t think you can get away with saving the perfect ones that you found last year. When they get old, they get mushy and the color bleeds. Unacceptable. Delicious, but unacceptable.)

3. Candy canes go on first – after lights and garland – because they are the thing you’ll have the greatest number of. I have 60 on my tree, plus a dozen or so spares for filling holes in at the end.

4. Candy canes are not ornaments: they’re accents. They don’t get dorked thoughtlessly onto branch-ends in places of honor. You will want those honor-places later. Candy canes get sort of hidden. If you hang one, then step back and can barely see it anymore, you’ve done your job.

5. This one’s going to sound a little nutty, but trust me: all the candy canes on the tree have to face the same direction. I usually put the short end on the left, but I imagine you could go the other way around. No, wait. Now that I picture it, that is unacceptable. Short end goes left. Period.

6. It does go without saying that they get evenly spaced around the tree, trunk deep, and should under no circumstances come out looking like a pattern of any sort. Right?

*This year, for the first time, I allowed Johnny to hang a single box of colored candy canes. He loves him some candy, but not so much the mint, so he wanted fruity flavors. He begged. I refused. I believe exactly what I said was “Johnny, I am not hanging colored candy canes on my Christmas tree.”


And then, hours later, the tape of that sentence in my head came back to haunt me. I sounded like Joan Freakin' Crawford. (“Didn't I tell you, Johnny? No. Colored. Candy canes!”) Plus, I am all about the marital harmony these days.

“Who’s it going to kill,” I said (to anyone, to everyone, and never quite convinced myself), “if the tree has an orange candy cane or two?”


So yesterday I bought them. It nearly killed me, but I figured that way I would at least have control over getting the least tacky colors I could find, and at the same time avoid any chance of winding up with cartoon characters stamped on the plastic wrappers (I would have had to stab one through my own heart in a festive act of hara kiri). But when I got home, I handed him the box and let him put all twelve of them on the tree himself.

I held my breath, I held my tongue, and damned if he didn’t hang all except the two strawberry-flavored, red-and-white ones in the back against the wall! The integrity of my rule-bound tree was going to survive!

Then, with my first relieved breath, I asked him to turn them all to face the left.

He looked at me like I was mental, but he did.


Poppo said...

LOL, you inherited Grampy Fergs obsession!! A bit more so though.. The picture from ten years ago is the same as this years...

Courtney said...

It really concerns me just how fervently I agree with your assertion that the candy cane short ends MUST be on the left.

That is not a healthy thing for either of us to care about.

su said...

Oh jeesh, you are coming to Maine tonight and my tree is so random after the years of account and psychologist perfection I grew up with, that I actually went back and turned some so they would not look to "staged" Grampy would allow us to place a few ornaments on tree docorating day but after we went to bed he would move them and also the lead tinsil we were allowed to place.. lower branches only

charlie said...

what if you are left-handed, can the canes face to the right then? cuz that would be the most natural.

Sparkle Plenty said...


Oh, geez. Sorry! Guess I hit "caps lock" by mistake. Sorry to be all shouty. But, REALLY! MUST SEE!!!!
(Hope your camera recovers soon!)

cuz donna said...

wow, I never knew my grampy was obsessed with the Christmas tree being decorated a certain way. I knew all those pieces that were in the snow on the table always looked the same, but not the tree. Man, I definitely didn't inherit that gene. I could care less what it looks like. It even looked ok to me the year it fell over 100 times. I am cracking myself up right now thinking about that. Wasn't funny then, but hilarious now! That tree was out the door on Dec 26th...Along with that cheap ass three legged stand!

jen said...

Um. I believe we are calling them African American Candy Canes, these days, Pru.

EGE said...

Courtney -- What do you mean, not healthy? This shit is IMPORTANT!

Charlie -- No. Wrong.

Sparkle -- I promise pictures tomorrow night or Friday morning at the latest. Now have a drink and unlock your shouties.

Jen -- holy crap Johnny and I laughed our asses off on that one. George is here -- I have to tell him!

Sparkle Plenty said...

Ahhh...See? No more shouties!

I thought about this topic a bit more, and my MIND bends if I think of candy canes hung the other way around. So, Grampy's obsession is somehow--unaccountably--in me, too.

I'm spotlighting your blog as one I particularly adore this month 'cause it is! Look forward to seeing the cane pix!

EGE said...

Yay! Yay! I'b cude! I'b cude! She dinks I'b cude!

Hey, Sparkle, did you ever see your dinosaur-adorned Year-Old Christmas Pudding?

Sparkle Plenty said...


(oh, crud...'scuse it...scuse it...the shouties assail me in this season of wassail)

I go in search of this dinosaur-bedecked pudding now.