Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Shiny Objects

What kind of art do I do in December? Answer: Decorate a big Christmas tree. Or, others might change the emphasis to say: Decorate a big Christmas tree.

My husband, who loves a decorated tree but not the decorating, is beginning to think this twelve footer of ours is gigantic. He has been making suggestions that it would be fine if I only hung, say, three hundred decorations and let the rest stay in their boxes.

But that doesn't work for me. I need the tree encrusted with every shiny bauble and ball we have. For one thing, I am attracted to shiny, glittery objects. "Hollywood," I call it. Besides, every ornament on the tree is a meme. "My mother gave me this one." "This one was a birthday present from Jennie." "Christopher made this one in Sunday school." "Eric and I got this one in Germany." "This one is from Denmark." "Oh, this was Aunt Lil's." Boxes and boxes and boxes of memories get hung on the tree.

This year I was hobbled by a new knee and counseled by my physical therapist not to be on a ladder. Going up and down wasn't going to damage the knee, but, apparently the nerve receptors near my knee can't yet send clear messages to my brain that the muscles need to make a correction to keep me balanced. My friend Roz came to the rescue.

Roz came with her artist's eyes and trimmed a part of the tree too high for me. And this was a real gift: Roz is the friend who doesn't even like to go over high bridges let alone stand on a tall ladder. You can read her comments on the tree trimming and photos of our tree on her December 8 and 13 blog entries.

We had lots of laughs. A good one at my expense when we talked about how Eric does not like to trim the tree. "I don't put things in the right places. You always end up moving most of what I hang up anyway," he says. "It's not that he puts things in the wrong places, I just need to tweek things, say, when I have a large ornament and there is no place to put it except where he put a tiny one. Or maybe three pink ones don't look the best hanging in a row. It is just a matter of composition. I move things I hang up constantly," I told Roz. "No wonder he doesn't like to trim the tree!" Hmm, now I see his point. There you have it: Roz, friend, artist and marriage coach. Eric did do the rest of the top and it looks terrific.

All in all, when the tree is all trimmed, the boxes back in the basement and the tree lights turned on, the week of work is worth it. Good thing it doesn't take as long to take it down.