We keep a storage unit a few blocks away with close-to-the heart baby relics and vintage furniture that was passed down to me, but no longer fits into this much smaller apartment. Within it all, you’ll find one plastic Ikea bin full of all our precious and not-so precious Christmas things. This year, we somehow managed to lose the stockings–, but the ornaments we’re mostly still intact. The ones that were broken got tossed, and I felt myself letting the notion of keeping anything of this nature for far too long slip through my fingers.
When it comes to things and design overall this holiday season, I find that the middle ground is a place I am finding myself. As a New Yorker, but maybe more-so as one in a large bunch of an expanding brood, you learn to cater your expectations to your situation. New York living isn’t just small living, it’s a subject hard to explain. There’s so many boxes to check off your list; the radiator, the ceiling length, the corner stand of which you’ll purchase, the cart you’ll drop it in to tot it home, if your lease actually allows one, and what corner will you hide it in as to not have it in the middle of it all. It’s difficult and magical all at once.
Two days ago, a follower asked how do I get Oak not to pull down all the ornaments off of the tree, and I like to look at our approach on it as an overall design perspective. We don’t expect him to not touch them, so we moved the dangerous ornaments up, and let the soft ones live on the bottom. The kids made their own ornaments and they adorn the bottom half of our lanky tree as well. Our tree this year is larger than last year’s and that’s because we have kids who are a tad older, and a living room that could fit it more sufficiently. We strung colorful lights on the bottom half and white lights on the top. There’s a string with felted balls knotted on one end of the tree and again on the next. It’s barely hanging on, but River insists. The oranges we dried and sliced have holes because Oak has taken to snatching the wooden stirring sticks from the cafe and burrying them in his stroller until we come and I realize he stuck all the sticks through the oranges. The decorations might not make it to the 25th, and our tree looks like it walked into a bar at noon, left at eight, and then got dressed with one eye open. The reality of our small space–the overall design of it and the wonky-ness of my children and I, allow us to take on this less than ceremonial Christmas tree approach.
Many of you will hit the streets this weekend and drag your trees home to sit in space for the next month or so. Some of you will hit the corner stands and throw one over your backs or plop them into your rusty shopping carts, to only haul them up a few flights of stairs..because that’s what New Yorkers often do. Don’t worry about the preciseness of your holiday execution or the preciousness of ornaments that often won’t make it. Be present. Make a mess.