Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas Confused

It is 3:00 in the morning, and I have been laying in bed awake for the past hour.  Something has been on my mind, something serious.  It's been keeping me away for a few days now; thinking about it instantly brings about anxiety and uncertainty.  I've tried to talk to friends about it; I've read every resource I can find online.  Nothing seems to help.  What is my problem you ask?  What is my serious, wake me up at 2:00 in the morning problem?  My Christmas decorations are confused.  They're lost, they're not making sense.  They're having an identity crisis, or perhaps more honestly, I'm having a Christmas decor identity crisis. 

I have literally laid in bed for the past hour tossing and turning about this.  Every year I look forward to putting up my Christmas decorations.  As soon as Halloween hits, I'm ready for the tree, the greenery, the cinnamon spice candles, the jingle bells, I'm ready for it all.  But I force myself to wait, and my hectic school schedule usually supports that decision.  But the minute Thanksgiving is over, all bets are off, the Christmas bins come out, and the madness begins (madness I'm more than happy about!)  This was no different this first.  As soon as we got back from Arizona, the Christmas tunes started.  (They actually started on the seventeen hour drive back to Texas, but the guys almost killed me, so they only lasted an hour or so.)  The Monday morning we were back, I was running late for work, but don't kid yourself, I had time to switch out all pumpkin spice candles for the festive cinnamon spice and country Christmas scents I love so much.  I straightened my hair to Mariah Carey Christmas and drove to work rocking my favorite B. Spears Christmas jam.  I longed for my Christmas decorations that were in storage at my parents house, and because I have the best mom in the world, she drove up Wednesday to deliver the bins.  Oh the joy!  So that day at work, I did nothing productive (at least by my bosses standards; I think Christmas planning is quite productive), and instead spent my day dreaming about all the beautiful things and projects I would take on that evening at home.  But as I began to lay out my plans, I began to get confused about the look I wanted.  Well, not the look I wanted, I know what that is.  Silvers, golds, and pops of red.  Berries and candles.  Greenery and lights.  Yeah, I know that look.  But that's not the problem.

The problem is, I am married.  Ok, lol, being married is not the problem (I have an incredible husband and am so blessed) but being married means sharing and comprising (uggggh, who knew?) and well, I'm not always the best at those things, particulary when it comes to my home and its style.  Before I got married, I was the princess of Shabby Chic.  My apartment was an advertisement for the Rachel Ashwell style.  Clean whites, precious pinks, faded florals, rich creams, uhhh, it was to die for.  My mom and I spent the summer before I started graduate school playing, shopping, and treasure hunting for my apartment.  (See that story here if you haven't read it)  It was perfect.  I moved in to my first solo apartment and was in heaven.  It was girly, pink, comfortable, and gorgeous.  Sigh...I loved it.  But then I met Matt (my fabulous husband), fell in love, and got married.  I knew from the beginning though that Matt would never go for the Shabby Chic style I loved so much.  Matt's apartment was more modern, manly, and filled with lots of art.  He loves brown (I hate brown), and I used to tell him his house looked like an ad for UPS.  Brown carpet, brown couch, brown pillows, it was slightly out of control.  So when we moved in together, I knew we'd have to comprise.  Bye bye pinks and creams, bye bye browns and browns.  Matt and I worked hard to find a style and a color palette for our home that we both loved.  He isn't one of those guys that says, "Go ahead honey, do what you want with the space."  He cares about the house, has a style, and I LOVE that about him.  Sure, I miss my pinks, but I really love that we have a home we created together, a home that we both love.  (Home = tiny rented apartment, but still, it's "ours.")  So we settled on a look that I think is very hotel chic.  Slate blue/grey walls, white and yellow accents, a graphic floral rug (sounds like an oxymoron, I know), lots of frame and pictures, its something both of us love.  I even got in a fuchsia pillow on the couch.  Marriage hurdle number one, tackeled!

But finding this same balance for our home at Christmas is different.  This time, it's not so much a battle between Matt and I's style, but a battle within myself to figure out how to mesh our style with the Christmas decor that I love so much.  Oh yeah, and also balancing that with Matt's ONE Christmas decor demand.  (Ok, demand is a strong word, but with my current distressed state, it seems appropriate.)  He wanted a blue and silver themed Christmas tree.  (Ewwwwww.)  We went back and forth about this last year, I fussed that blue and silver aren't Christmas colors, and U threw a borderline fit in the ornament aisle of Hobby Lobby (real mature, I know.)  A blue and silver tree?  That isn't Christmas?!?  I protested for a while, thinking back to my childhood memories of my home at Christmas.  My mom always did the country Christmas thing, lots of red berries, greenery, nutcrackers, you know, normal Christmas things.  Beautiful Christmas things.  Clearly blue and silver were not present in that picture, at least not together.  But as we stood in Hobby Lobby, I realized it can't be all about me, relationships are about compromise (groan), and considering Matt gives me 99%  free reign at Christmas, I guess I could consider his demand wish of a blue and silver tree.  So away we went with blue and silver ornaments, as I prayed for the best.  In the end last year, our little tree was precious.  We leaned more heavily on the silver, and with ribbons and bows on the tree, it looked girlier and prettier than I thought.  Plus, I guilted Matt into letting me put on these white and silver glittery butterflies since I had given up my red tree.  He wasn't (and still isn't) crazy about them, but marriage is about compromise right?  :)  (Amazing how we can love and hate that statement depending on whose favor its in.)

So as I sat in my office Wednesday preparing for decorating that night (why is this post so long?) I tried to envision a beautiful cohesive look that would unite our blue and silver Christmas tree with the rest of the house.  I felt like the red berries and greenery just didn't work with our blue and silver tree.  So I dreamed up a home with lots of silver and glittery white.  Fearful that wouldn't be enough pop, I thought about incorporating some more bright nontraditional Christmas colors into the mix.  You know, the fushias, lime greens, purples, etc that some people use at Christmas.  Not my usual taste, but it could work.  Great, done, happy with the idea.  I went home that night excited for our new Christmas look.  I was embracing the no red in favor of a more contemporary, apartment inspired look.  (I decided we'd move towards a more traditional red, gold, silver Christmas scheme when we get our first house.)  As the tree started to go up, I became giddy and filled with excitement.  New Christmas decor, here we come!  Five minutes into the process, I hated it.  I pressed on, with sweet encouragement from Matt, who knows how much I love Christmas decorating, and wanted to see my happy.  After we got the blue and silver tree done, my mood picked up, but as we moved on to the rest of the house, it went downhill.  The greenery and red berries from years before were still in my bins, and I kept them there, opting for my  new "contemporary wonderful Christmas."  After a few hours, I had silver ornaments in every glass container we owned, jingle bells and candles in my new glass hurricanes, and our silver Merry Christmas letters across our tv console.  I looked around and HATED it.  It wasn't Christmasy, it wasn't festive; it was boring.  It was sterile.  If it weren't for the tree, I might have guessed it was March, July, or any other month besides December.  It was awful.  Feeling defeated, I gave up and called it a night.  As I sulked to our room, and Matt kept asking, "But what's wrong, you love decorating for Christmas?"  He was right, I do love decorating for Christmas, but this new contemporary wannabe thing, for me, just isn't Christmas.  I need red, I need greenery, I pine cones.  That is Christmas decor to me!  But I don't know how to make that work with a blue and silver tree.  I've never been one to need matchy matchy, but the red berries, the greenery, and the pines cones seem like they won't be cohesive with the blue and silver.  I don't want my apartment to look disheveled and haphazard.  I don't want it to be Christmas confused. 

So after two days of thinking, looking at other blogs with awesome Christmas decor, and missing my red, I think I've decided to say, "The hell with a cohesive look, I'm doing what I love."  I'll keep the blue and silver tree, because my husband loves it and we made it together, but the rest of this plan is crap.  It's going out the window.  When I wake up, I getting my garland back out, putting my berries up, and going with what I love.  I don't care if its cohesive, I don't care if it misses my Pottery Barn hopes and dreams, it's about using what I love.  So after all that thinking, all that anxiety, and all that planning, I'm back to square one of Christmas decorating.  And I couldn't be happier about it!


Dad said...

Are you sure you weren't laying in bed at 3:00 A.M because dinner at the Japanese Fusion restaurant didn't agree with you?

Mel said...

You said you liked silver, gold with pops of red right? So silver is your "cohesive" color. See if some gold on the tree would fit, and see if some blue can mix with your red & green. I have no doubt your place will look fabulous when you are done. You have too good an eye for this -- you will make it work!