19 steps to a perfectly decorated Christmas tree

This morning I asked my Facebook friends to guess how many feature length films it would take me to decorate my 9-foot pre-light perennially perfect Christmas tree. The guesses ranged between 3.5 and 4, which came pretty close. It appears I’m known for laborious efforts in the Christmas department. You, too, can decorate a tree like me. Just follow these steps:

Step 1. Start Little Women, a classic Christmas film. During the opening score, tussle with the tree’s lights, only half of which appear to turn on. Plug and un-plug strands in different combinations. Watch patches of the tree blink on and off. Swear.

Naked Christmas tree

Step 2. Pause Little Women so your husband can watch Formula 1. Launch White Christmas on your Ipad. Continue fighting with the lights.

Step 3. After 20 fruitless minutes futzing with the tree, climb into the attic to get the outside lights down. Battle the snake’s nest and extract two strands that somewhat match the tree. String lights to camouflage the dark patches.

Step 4. Stop for a minute to sing along with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye as they do Sisters in their baby blue dresses.

Step 5. String beaded garlands evenly even-ish. Tell yourself lopsided = charm. Do not fall off the ladder.

Christmas tree with garland

Step 6. Hang large and small snowflakesWonder who designed the glitter that gets embedded in your skin and won’t come off again until January.

Step 7. Add large glass ornaments. Glance at the pile of unopened ornaments. Consider stopping there. Minimalism is in, right?

Christmas tree with snowflakes

Step 8. Break for lunch. After leftovers, re-launch Little Women. Stare at pile of ornaments.

Step 9. Stop procrastinating. Unpack the rest of the ornaments, arranging the unique/favorites up front, the back-of-tree ornaments in the middle, and the colorful balls in back.

Step 10. Mourn with Jo as she rejects Laurie. Strategically place favorite ornaments in front, at eye-level and just below.

Step 11. Place B-list ornaments above and below favorites.

Christmas tree

Step 12. Cry with the Marches at Beth’s funeral. Arrange C-list ornaments at the very bottom and back of tree.

Step 13. Step back. Rearrange ornaments that aren’t quite right.

Step 14. Start Love ActuallyFill in branches with glass bulbs in various sizes and colors.

Step 15. Sing along with Billy Mack. Avoid stepping on the glass ball you broke trying to carry too many to the tree.

Step 16. Rearrange favorites and B-lists and snowflakes for optimal viewing.

Step 17. Catch your husband getting sucked into Love Actually. Sit down as Colin Firth proposes to Aurelia in Portuguese.

Step 18. Ignore the boxes and bags that need to go back into the attic. Sing along with “All I Want for Christmas.”

Step 19. Bask in the glory of a beautifully decorated tree. Continue ignoring the mess.

Beautifully decorated Christmas tree


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Embracing “old lady” shoes. Maybe.
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Green tomatoes
Baking with Marm
A grateful heart: Thanksgiving joy and gratitude doodles
A grateful heart: Nosy neighbors and night time walks
The U-haul workout

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