I like being self-aware, particularly as it applies to why I do what I do, and ESPECIALLY when what I’m doing leaves others perplexed.
Take for example, my Christmas tree. Yes, getting it up is quite a production. It’s not necessarily the size. Lots of people have 9′ trees, and it doesn’t take them a week to decorate it. It’s everything that goes into it. I’ve had people ask why I go to so much trouble for something that is up for such a short time. So I’ve had to think about that. Surely there must be a reason. And there is. But it’s a little complicated, so bear with me while we roam around my brain…(Hold on, it’s kind of a twisty ride!)
I like texture (duh!) so I start with a tree that has two different types of greens. But two aren’t enough. I add more – cute little branches of cut up garland that have two more greens, berries and pine cones. NOW we’re talking texture.
And I love lots of lights. And, yeah, one kind isn’t enough. The tree USED to be pre-lit, but big chunks of the lights went out after 4 years, so I supplemented for a couple of years, then finally bit the bullet and removed ALL of them last year (what a project!) so now I’m stringing lights. I COULD have just bought a new pre-lit tree, but I am SOOOOOO particular, and the one I would want is so ridiculously expensive that I just couldn’t do it. So. Stringing lights. Regular white twinkle lights (9 strands of 150) and then some cute little round balls (5 strands of 50.) Someone asked if my husband at least puts the lights on for me, but he doesn’t. Not because he wouldn’t if I asked, but I am a TOTAL control freak when it comes to how I want them done, and it’s just not fair to hold him to my exacting standards.
Then there is the cinnamon/cranberry garland. I LOVE that stuff. I only have 5 strands, and was wishing I had more. Then it hit me to check eBay. They’re pretty old, but you just never know. ‘Lo and behold, I found 2 strands, jumped on it, and they’ll be here in a few days. I’m not going to wait for them to finish the tree, but I’ll have them for next year! Woohoo!
Then there are the big berry balls that get tucked into the tree. And the giant candy canes for the top. There are three different ornaments that I have quite a few of (gingerbread men, candy canes and double hearts.) These are “foundation” ornaments – ones I spread around the tree to give the tree some cohesiveness.
THEN it’s time to add the regular ornaments. One of these days I should count them (or not!) but suffice it to say there are lots. And lots. And they are VERY eclectic. There are country, and glitzy, ones I’ve made, some that were gifts, some we’ve picked up on our travels, elegant, rustic and even some that are tacky. But somehow it works. It’s almost like a scrapbook. I remember where I got nearly every one, as well as the stories behind them. This is what takes so much time. Not just because there are so many, but because I re-live the story for each one as it goes up.
An argument could be made that I should get rid of a lot of them. Quit cramming them in. Give each one more space. But that’s not how I roll. And here is where the “expect the unexpected” comes into play.
I LOVE to look at my tree and find a little surprise everywhere I look. I like to look at a gingerbread man, then realize I can see berries in the background. Or focus on a Santa, then notice a little mouse tucked in behind it.
And this is the way I like to do life. I LIKE looking for the unexpected, like I do when I’m taking photos on vacation. So when I’m building my world, I set them up that way…not just with my Christmas tree, but with the scrapbooks – if you look closely at a group of embellishments, there’s usually more there than originally meets the eye, and in the garden (where you’ll find tiny little flowers or fairies tucked in amongst the bigger flowers and bushes.)
So. Guess I’d better get back to it…lots to do to get that “unexpected” set up!
Which begs the question…when the unexpected is expected, does it cease to be unexpected? I’ll have to think about that.