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The Marriage Wars: Women’s obsession with holiday decorating
by Mark Gray and Dawn Brandvold
Dec 11, 2011 | 1183 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dawn: I’m not one for excessive decorating so the bewilderment I encounter each December from my husband is baffling. A little bit of Christmas cheer around the usually sedate homestead keeps us in the holiday spirit. Throw on a few Christmas CDs and let the merriment begin.

To clarify, yes…every single decoration has meaning. Deal with it. Latino Santa is to honor a missionary son in Central America. Fireman Santa was purchased the Christmas after 9-11 in remembrance of the brave N.YC. Fire Department. Every Baby Jesus, Frosty the Snowman, and Rudolph represents a memory of Christmas past.

Christmas is the perfect holiday to indulge nostalgic whims. Why else would normally sane women who detest dusting cover every available space with red and green paraphernalia? Our house, like most of yours, isn’t going to be part of any holiday home show. It’s mostly stuff the kids remember from years past. Heaven help us if the wooden reindeer made by one of the kids gets put out to pasture.

Women aren’t slaves to Christmas decorations. We are slaves to the feelings of our families. One year, my daughter came home from college and about fainted when we didn’t have the tree up. If her favorite Santa was missing, she might have turned right around and headed back to school.

My husband should be grateful. I haven’t gone off the deep-end yet. He should start to worry if I make him watch TV while wearing a Santa hat so he’ll blend into the surrounding seasonal splendor.

Mark: In one of the Father Brown mystery stories, a character notes, “If you convey to a woman that something ought to be done, there is dreadful danger that she will suddenly do it.”

This occurs every year at this time. Upon the very mention of Christmas or the holiday season, women become frenzied attack dogs transforming the house into a Christmas-themed winter wonderland. One minute I’m watching a news program in the living room; the next minute I’m watching the news in Santa’s workshop.

I have no trouble with a Christmas tree, but I don’t see the need to totally redecorate the house for a short three-week period of time. I can still conjure up the Christmas spirit without seeing 23 different nativity scenes on the fireplace mantle. I can immerse myself in the season without a bookcase solidly filled with snow globes. A wreath on the front door is one thing; I don’t need a smaller wreath wrapped around every candle or decorative mug.

The living room is no more “homey” due to its seasonal population of Santas. I know what Santa looks like – and he doesn’t look like the recently purchased white-bearded guy in a Mexican cantina. Neither is Santa more authentic wearing a fireman’s suit and carrying a hose.

Snowmen…angels…stars…And they all have to be carefully dusted and wrapped, and gingerly placed in storage containers after their short-lived run of the house.

Women will label the decorations as crafts or memorable keepsakes. I will continue to call them Christmas clutter. Men are not grinches; we just question the need for the holiday knickknack takeover.

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