Every year, having decorated my Christmas tree, I stand back and say: “You know, it could use more lights.” No matter how many lights are on there, I figure a few more would be better. If you celebrate Christmas, you almost certainly have some similarly small and seemingly inconsequential but very firmly held decorating opinion. What is it?
Wired UK did some research across the worlds of science and Christmas industry and discovered that “about 6.2 baubles per foot of Christmas tree (30.4 cm)” is really the proper bauble-to-tree ratio. This inspired the Guardian to reach out to Judith Flanders, author of Christmas: A Biography, who reassured the publication that the holiday is mutable and so you can do whatever you want: “There are no grand old traditions; they mutate and change, endlessly and always. So if you want to put up decorations in the shape of Strictly Come Dancing contestants, go for it.”
Sure, yes, intellectually I understand that anybody can do whatever they want. But I am also absolutely sure that we can all stand to add more lights, and I’m very confident that everybody else has their own funny little fixation. Some people’s thing is the color of the lights. I know one couple who agree on the color of the lights but disagree on the proper size. Do you have some sort of a thing about tinsel, pro or con? Maybe you think icicles are nonsense or winding the whole thing in ribbon is absolutely necessary, or you actually do those cranberry-and-popcorn garlands.
Do you festoon the whole thing in candy canes, or do you opt for icicles? Do you think all ornaments that aren’t “traditional” colors (red, green, gold, maybe a smattering of blue and silver) are gimmicky? Are you currently placing the last ornament on your fifth tree, each of which is a different bright color scheme and theme? Do you think wooden ornaments are the shiplap of Christmas decor? Are you absolutely committed to pewter? Glass? Glitter? Is your living room essentially the Black Forest? Does your family have some tradition that you didn’t realize wasn’t universal until you left for college?
What is your thing? If you do Christmas, I know you have one.
Please enjoy fighting about this for the rest of the day.