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For all seasons

Choose your level of decorating zeal—and stick with it

The holidays are no time to fuck around. They are happy times that deserve to be marked by tinsel and fake trees or skeletons and pumpkins. There should always be a wreath. Wreath presence is tip number one, and here are a few more:

No middle ground

I’m going to give you a choice of what type of holiday decorator you can be. You can be like me and only have one decently large plastic tub full of all your holiday items for the entire year; or you can be like my mom, who has a storage unit or two full of decorations. You go all out or you give a polite and festive shout out. These are the only two appropriate ways to decorate.

Why? Imagine looking a holiday in the face and telling it how you store all its clothes. 

“I keep them in a clean tub, perfectly edited to reflect my love of you.” (Yes.)

“I rent an entire storage unit to house the physical manifestation of my joy for your presence in my life. I love you so much I want to display every decoration ever imagined to show it.” (Yes.)

“I feel like I need to and I really do want to show my love for you, so I keep several rotting cardboard boxes of your things in my garage, and I have to catch myself from cursing your annual celebration because I am afraid of spiders living in your fake gourds, and, also, I hate lifting boxes.” (No.)

Stylistic cohesiveness

If there is one way to earn holiday decorating disdain, it’s to not keep your decorations stylistically the same. You don’t want to have cartoony Halloween ghosts in the same vicinity with super creepy and realistic skeletons covered in blood. Carrying a theme helps marry the new decorative flourishes with your home’s existing décor—like a good color scheme. 

Let’s get practical

I’m a one-tub-girl born of a storage-unit woman. Every holiday my mom would pack us kids in the car, and we’d take a magical ride to the storage unit to load our SUV sleigh with a bounty of decorations. We’d watch Ferris Bueller and deck our halls. It was wonderful. Then we grew up, and Mom had to beg us to help put up and take down decorations. I remember thinking I didn’t want to have a shitty kid like me who wouldn’t help make the holidays bright. 

Turns out, I’m a different type of person, and that’s ok. My mom carried on without grinchy me, rediscovering within her a boundless love of holiday merry-making. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays, but I don’t ever want to decorating to feel like a burden. So I keep it simple. I’ve made a meditation of picking which pieces most fully announce my appreciation for the holidays. Consider the amount of time, energy and enthusiasm you have and collect decorations accordingly. Don’t make seasonal decorating your cross to bear. That’s just poor form.

Want to learn from the best?

My dear Tulsans, there is one house worthy of the greatest admiration for its commitment to spreading cheer throughout the holiday season. My husband and I fondly call it the holiday house (near 16th and Cheyenne), and we make a point of driving by this home with any and all out-of-town visitors. I’d describe it, but I don’t want to steal any of the joy of approaching it in person. If the owners are reading this article, I tip my hat to you.