It's not about the house.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Wrong Way.

My sister and I have formed ourselves a think tank -- only we don't "think" so much as make sweeping declarations of what other people should and shouldn't do. If you're going to push the walk button, for example, you must wait for the walk sign. Otherwise drivers, after sitting at the light forever waiting for it to cycle, have every right to drive up on the sidewalk and attempt to mow you down. That sort of thing. We call ourselves the WutEge Foundation -- after both our nicknames -- and we're pretty exclusive. You can't join, for example. Not unless your name is Wut. And not even if your name is Ege. Which it ain't.

Anyway, yesterday we embarked on a series of Christmas Decoration Declarations. Wut started it, with this: "Those christmas lights that are strung like nets, meant to easily drape over your shrubbery? If you're going to use them, you have to purchase enough lights to adequately cover the entire bush. Having a small square of prefectly spaced lights on a bush is as unappealling as a speedo on a fat man. A hairy fat man."

She's funny, my Wut is. In fact, I think she might have stolen my funny these days, because all I could come up with in reply is this: "If you are going to hang lights or decorations on a tree or bush, get a ladder! Hanging them only as high as you can reach is dumb."

We both agreed that there should be a blog of stupid Christmas decorations -- and I'd be happy to be that snarky elf if anybody wants to send me pictures -- but in the meantime, I thought I might as well begin with a series on The Proper Way To Trim a Christmas Tree.

I should probably start by saying that there are all kinds of different people in the world -- some of them (gasp!) don't even put up a Christmas tree -- and therefore there are all kinds of different ways to trim a tree. They all are wrong. After all, they are not in the WutEge Foundation, and I am.

So, herewith:

(This is going to take several parts to demonstrate, because it takes several days to do. Perfection has a price, my friends, and it is patience.)

Well, obviously you have to buy the tree before you can trim it. Unless you live in a place where you can sneak into the woods and cut one down, which is a perfectly acceptable variation on the theme. Just make sure you get a good one. It has to be as close to perfectly cone-shaped as you can get it -- without actually reminding you of something with which Jean-Paul Gaultier would sheath Madonna's breasts. It has to have as little space between the branches as you can find, while saving lots of space under the bottom one for presents. Oh, and it ought to be as big as it can possibly be and still fit in the room, even if you have to climb over the sofa. I don't want to see more than a few inches of space between the top branch and the ceiling and, just to be safe, try to see if you can't get one equally as big around.

The first step towards actually trimming -- although you won't be doing that for days -- is to bring it in the house and put it up (for more on the proper stand, please see this post from yesteryear*). It won't look big enough at first, but that's why you're going to give it a while to let the branches settle, and to let the cats get used to the piece of aromatic furniture that they've seen come and go for fourteen Christmases running and yet are stunned to tiptoes at the sight of every time.

If your husband rustles up the little red heart ornament that the cats have been kicking around the house ever since it fell off the tree last Christmas and sticks it on there, that's all right. You can always move the red heart later.

Oh, and don't forget to treat your tree stand like you would a party guest's drinking glass: fill it up before you see it empty! Otherwise your tree -- just like a party guest -- will go all limp and saggedy (and be that much more inclined towards burning down your house) long before time comes to throw it out. 

Next: Lights!

*If you read that post, you will see that I did this trim-a-tree thing last year, too. I had forgotten. So here's the deal: I won't read last year's posts when I write these, and you-all can feel free to compare the two. If you catch me changing the rules without acknowledging it and giving a reason, I will send you a Christmas present. And it might even not be a lump of coal.

Oh, and don't forget: If you have -- or want to take -- pictures of bad Christmas decorations, feel free to send 'em my way (my email's in my profile).


su said...

How about those chasing lights!

Chris said...

I agree, Wut has an edge lately, she has been bringing the funny. I'm laughing alot these days, even when the joke is at my expense.