It's not about the house.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Christmas Tree, Part 4: The Garland

The garland is actually Part 3, in terms of The Proper Order In Which To Put Things On Your Tree, but I got all out of order because of the digital-camera debacle. I’ve killed everyone responsible, and now it’s back to work.

But I should clarify: I’ve never actually thought of this as a “garland” before. I had to call it something to post about it here, and I realized that, technically, I supposed that’s what it was. I kind of choked on using the word a little, because in general I agree with Charlie: garland is gauche. Silver tinsel, strings of beads, stars of many sizes… tacky-o. Unless you are or have a child under the age of ten, in which case you’re allowed construction-paper rings.

But this…

…this is not really a garland. This is tradition. This is necessary. And to do without it would be unacceptable.

So, herewith, The Rules:

1. Oh my god do I even have to tell you that it’s real? The fake plastic kind should not be allowed to exist, let alone go on anybody’s tree. Period.

2. Do it yourself. If you have kids, then they can do it, in which case the rest of these rules are hereby officially relaxed. But if you buy it anywhere or pay someone to do it because you think that it’s too hard – well then, Jed, I don’t even want to know you.

3. Air-popped corn, made a day ahead and left out on the counter to get stale. Johnny does this for me. Makes it a lot easier to get the needle through. If you use oil, you will regret it in a week when your house smells like the bottom of an unwashed frying pan. And if I have to explain why you can’t use the microwaved kind, well, then happy Hanukah!

4. Black thread.

5. Fresh cranberries. Der.

6. Bigger needles are easier to thread. Smaller needles are less likely to smash popcorn kernels. You figure it out. (Hint: which of these things will you be doing more of? Right.)

7. Seams are bad. Ideally, one strand will go all the way around the tree. This isn’t always possible because you don’t have abominable snowman arms. So tie the ends together to avoid them drooping down.

8. Every strand begins and ends with a cranberry. This is not nutty, it’s actually practical advice gleaned from years of experience: popcorn can somehow work its way past the end-knot and fall off. Cranberries don’t. If you have to tie two strands together, you’ll wind up with two cranberries next to each other. This, in this one instance, is okay.

9. Otherwise: five popcorn kernels, one cranberry. Five corns, one berry. Five, one. No exceptions.

10. Cranberries go on the long way. Der.

Ta da!

Baby Jebo! I’m going to have to straighten out a couple of those strands. How did I not notice how funked-up they were before?

Oh, and:

11. At the end of the season, the tree goes in the yard with the garland and some other assorted goodies to be named later still left on. Birds and squirrels and assorted woodland creatures will be grateful for the popcorn and assorted goods. But…

12. Nobody eats the cranberries.

Next: actual, real-live ornaments! But probably not until tomorrow night. Prudence has dinner plans.


su said...

You did not mention sitting indian style on the floor with the bowl of cornin the openig of your legs and the cranberries in front or on the left depending on whether or not this is a group project.

EGE said...

Mommie, Dearest, have you not been listening? This is not a GROUP project!

Tara said...

I used to be a tour guide at this Victorian mansion...and for Christmas we'd make the popcorn garlands...except the curator would refuse to let anyone air pop the popcorn at home, so we'd have to use greasy microwave popcorn...yuck.

Catching up and saw that you survived your latest dental appt. Congrats! And thanks for giving me a little hope that it wasn't that bad. I have to go get my gum cut open tomorrow so they can look around and decide if they pull, root canal, clean, or what. (I don't like the unknown...and I'm a big chicken-sh1t baby to boot.) I hope that Dr. Frenchy is nice.

EGE said...

Good luck Tara! If I survived then I'm sure you will be just fine. I hope all you need is just a good firm cleaning. Yeah.

Charlie said...

I still cannot believe that you, Ms Impatient, do this every year. looks fantastic! So professional.

theotherbear said...

Wow, very impressive. I have read in books and things about people making popcorn garlands but they just aren't a big thing here. They look cool - the cranberries are a great touch. Not that you can buy those here anyway!