How to Redecorate Your Entire House for the Holidays
by Liz Colville
There is this phenomenon, perhaps you’ve heard of it, perhaps your mother is all about it, involving redecorating one’s entire house for the holidays, usually Christmas, but it could be anything you wish, as long as that thing is bound to the colors green and red, appreciates the symbolism of the Christmas tree, thinks that pillows hand-stitched [by your grandmother or a teenager in China] are a great way to express holiday spirit/support your lower back, and believes its celebrants have more important things to do than string lights around a tree and put up valuable, been-in-the-family-forever ornaments one at a time for hours. Martha Stewart, who takes care, who works hard, whose attention to detail is admirable, whose modus operandi is all about craft, also happens to have a line of Christmas decor that is none of those things, and it breaks at least one ventricle of my heart.
This holiday collection of hers is probably found Everywhere Fine Items Are Sold, but in particular, it can be found in a catalog called Home Decorators, which is full of dreadful things, not just by Martha Stewart, and which you could say slaps around the word ‘decorator,’ gives it a full nelson, then just walks away.
I opened up the latest issue of Home Decorators last night; the catalog came with a patio table I ordered from Overstock.com. The first half of the catalog is devoted to Christmas holiday items. One of the first items I see is something called Martha Stewart Living™ Lifelike Pine Pre-Lit Greenery, which is a big euphemistic mouthful for Fake Christmas Tree With Fake Snow On It That You Don’t Have to Decorate Yourself. The description of the item, which really isn’t necessary, is: “Includes real pinecones, a dusting of faux snow, clear lights and a convenient on/off switch.” Because getting lost under the tree looking for the switch to the lights you put up yourself could drive a person to madness, and waste a lot of time. Think of the recent Target ad where the woman makes ten clones of herself à la Multiplicity so that she can get her holiday redecoration scheme finished. I don’t know what the message was there in that ad, but it hurt.
Turning the page, we get to a section called Timeless Treasures, which is strange, because these things — Christmas tree decorations, mostly (and pictured) — invite themselves to be clutched tightly in your hand until they smash into shards. There’s one that looks like a green eggplant or a jalapeno on growth hormones; another of a random girl holding a dog; another of a really fat pheasant with a head too small for its body. For what amount of time will these treasures actually remain in people’s lives, if not for infinity?
A thing that a sub-industry like Christmas decor specializes in is alerting you to I-suppose-useful things you didn’t know existed. The Container Store is really good at this, terrifyingly so: it’s a Russian doll showcase of utility upon utility upon why-the-hell-not upon If You Give A Mouse A Cookie-itis. Home Decorators’ best example of this in 2010 is something called the Partridge Stocking Holder, pictured above. Who the fuck knew that instead of just duct-taping your stockings to the top of your mantel, you could get a paperweight that is specifically used to hold stockings up, but which spends most of its time in a box in the garage, weeping, asking itself and its fellow Partridge brethren what they could have done to be more useful more often. If the lady of the house had time to speak to them, she might say, “But what we love about the holidays — we meaning myself and the golden retriever, Carl, because I haven’t seen my husband in weeks, I’m really not sure what happened to him — is slowly unwrapping all of you guys, greeting you by name, patting your heads, putting you on the mantel, getting out the measuring tape to make sure you’re equidistant from each other. It just wouldn’t be as fun if we had to look at you all year,” and she’s already walking away, on to some other project.
If you’re not into the glass ornaments, consider these pathetic wastes of buttons. They’re called, inexplicably, Mini Puff.
Do not forget your patio furniture. You can get green and red cushions that allow you to sit outside in three feet of snow with your holiday guests and not be embarrassed that the holidays didn’t make it out to the patio! They did, they did. (Not pictured.)
There’s also this fellow, for your lawn.
And these lawn decorations made out of corrugated medal siding that was seemingly just spray-painted in green and red. And on stakes, no less, like the heads of medieval people who had done something wrong.