Christmas makes me crazy. I have seventeen Rubbermaid totes full of stuff that's supposed to make the season jolly. That's not even counting the dishes, candlesticks, and various other paraphernalia stored in cabinets. I do not know how many ornaments I own. If I did, I would be ashamed to tell it.
A couple of days ago I made some spur of the minute plans for The Guy and me to meet two other couples for dinner. I was looking forward to it. That afternoon, I commenced with putting up garland around the double windows in my upstairs sitting room. This entails climbing, stringing lights, and wiring in ornaments. The finished product is beautiful but it is almost as much trouble as putting up a ten foot Christmas tree. This is something I do by myself because I want it like I want it. Though a lot of trouble, it's usually not hard—i.e. the garland usually doesn’t fall three times nor do the anchoring nails fall out. I climbed, I nailed, I cussed. Finally it was almost time for The Guy to come home and I thought, "I cannot go to dinner. I will have to cancel because I HAVE TO GET THIS DONE."
But something stopped me. I throttled back and asked myself what the heck I was doing. I answered myself: I was about to give up something important—time with friends—for something that wasn't—perfectly decorated garland. I realized that I work myself into a frenzy all season long, all the while thinking, "If I can just get it right, I can relax and enjoy everything." But that part never comes. There's always another gift to wrap, another cookie to bake, and—God help—another ornament to hang.
We went to dinner. When we came home, we put A Christmas Story on, and The Guy and I finished the job. I am here to tell you, The Guy is not nearly as interested in symmetry and color balance as I am. Hence, the garland doesn't look exactly like it would have if I had done it alone, but, honestly, it looks just as good. And we had a lovely evening.
This caused me make some rules for myself. I call them the Yule Rules. Right now, I only have a few but I expect to add to them as time goes on.
JEAN'S YULE RULES
1. If a string of lights even acts one bit cantankerous, throw it away. Do not fiddle with it for an hour hoping to make it work right. It never will.
2. If an ornament is ugly, throw it out regardless of from whence it came. (Note: ornaments made by precious preschool hands are never ugly and are worth a million times the price of the entire lot of the retired Waterford Songs of Christmas series.)
3. Stay out of the mall and Wal-Mart. If Ace Hardware or a store downtown doesn't have it, I don't need it.
4. Do not search for the perfect ribbon. It doesn't exist and nobody cares.
5. Do not pass on the opportunity to visit with loved ones in order to tape, bake, hang, or hot glue anything. It's not worth it.
6. Order pizza.
Do you have any Yule Rules?