Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Have you asked yourself this question....

 With Christmas just around the corner, it's time you asked yourself this question. Are you a Christmas style tyrant?

If you are unsure then take this quick survey.

1. Do you limit the colour palette of decorations?
a) yes. Every year I colour theme Christmas
b) I do like traditional red and white but happy to have whatever is around
c) It's an all in together mish mash of colour.

2. When your small children bring home a wonkey and rather crazy decorations  they have made do you...
a) Smile sweetly and when they are not looking throw it in the bin?
b) fix it up, re paint and re-make and hang on the tree?
c) give it to a grandparent.
d) Hang it proudly on the tree and keep it forever?

3.Do you let other people in your family decorate the tree?
a) only if they follow your instructions.
b) only if they are taller than you and do what they are told.
c) happy to let anyone do the decorating - it's one less job to do.

4. Do you keep decorations given to you by other people?
a) never unless they are to your taste
b) sometimes but you re-gift them
c) always, you love being reminded of that friend when you hang the decoration on the tree

5. Do you gift wrap in...
a) a matching colour theme with trimmings?
b) using double sided sticky tape?
c) a haphazard doesn't matter because it will get ripped off anyway way?

6.Your husband/partner has a penchant for gaudy outside lights and displays. Do you..
a) threaten divorce and not let him put any up
b) he can put them up but only if you choose them
c) only in the back yard
d) let him go for it. The kids love it too. You're looking forward to being the crazy Christmas house.

So. How did you go?

If you answered:
all  a's - It's official. You are a Christmas style tyrant.

mostly a's and b's - you are on the way to becoming a Christmas style tyrant.

mostly c's and d's - relax! Oh you are relaxing anyway.  

I know. You are asking yourself, "How does Julianne know so much about being a Christmas style tyrant?" Well...I have a confession to make. I know these things because once, almost twenty years ago, for one Christmas, I was a Christmas style tyrant.

The two children I had were too young to argue or participate with Christmas. My partner too busy. I dressed the children in home made matching dresses made from Christmas fabric. Yes! I really did! And I decorated the tree all in just brown paper  decorations and gold. Really.
And you know what? It was a hollow style victory. It was boring. And empty. And the kids wrecked the dresses. And I got over myself. 

Our Christmases shouldn't be a shop window display! Our Christmases are not for sale! My children are not Christmas accessories!

The other day I read a blog post from someone who was admitting openly to being a control freak about Christmas. She hadn't let her children participate in the tree decorating or hung up anything they had made. Her tree was more sterile art installation than a central focus of Christmas cheer. It made me sad.

I wondered if it was because she was a blogger and wanted to show her style in everything? (I'm still working on a post entitled "is blogging just bragging?") Or if it is a sign of the times -  that somehow these days everything is posted, flaunted tweeted and on display and has therefore bleached of it's honesty and realness. Or does she just need to express herself in everything and it's all about her?

The kids and I made these salt dough decorations. We coloured them madly with sharpie textas. These are mine....
 And these are what the kids made.........

Baby Joe's (at the top) are scribbled on with such intent and frenzy  - the lines and marks perfectly capture his 3year old self and each year when I get these decorations out of the box, something of little Joe will be there still, present in his handiwork. Pepper's (next row down) are detailed and thoughtful - she has just started thinking about her art and craft in this way, thinking about colour combinations and exploring patterns. Wanda's are practical and industrious. Each surface is completely coloured in, from edge to edge. She didn't do as many as Pepper. She wanted to climb a tree instead.
Christmas is about family, the marking of time, the passing of years, growing and changing and mostly it's about togetherness. It only happens once a year. How can being controlling and exclusive in the activities be any fun?

So beware of the inner Christmas style tyrant and make sure there's some wonkiness and tackiness and reality in your Christmas and celebrate with style but mostly with love for one another.


  1. All D's for me. I nearly did a Facebook update that I'm hopeless at wrapping presents and thus really don't like it much, but then thought that wouldn't be quite the thing for a shop girl to admit. Luckily no one has asked for gift wrapping yet....shhh.

    1. Me too! I get all tangled in tape! I'm taking inspiration from you Liz and using old sewing patterns for wrap.

    2. It's a bit crafty and a bit vintagy-win win! Pet hate ...finding the end of the sticky tape (sorry wasi tape).Other pet hate....slicing my fingers on the serrated tape dispenser cutter.
      So, should I do a blog post featuring hip Polaroid pictures of all the gifts I begrudgingly wrapped this year?

    3. When I say begrudgingly, I'm referring to the presents I wrap for the
      kidlets that get shredded to bits in a nano second!

    4. Oh yeah - wasi tape! I should have put that in the survey! And yes - if the presents are presented as polaroids then it wouldn't matter if you had stuck them together with your own spit - they'd still look hip.

  2. I was a Christmas style tyrant as a child. There were so many things I didn't like about my home and my life and no one particularly made an effort around Christmas, so this was my chance to make everything how I wanted it. I collected pine cones and painted them silver, saved up to buy fancy baubles, carefully arranged Christmas cards... I had my own very particular idea of what was stylish - I wanted my Christmas to look like the ones in American TV shows. As a child, I always thought 'when I am grown up and have my own house, everything is going to be just perfect' - I imagined a real tree with all the trimmings, hams carefully decorated with orange slices and cloves like something out of Margaret Fulton's Christmas Cookbook... And when the time came, well, I didn't give a rats. I'm not really sure why. Exhausted by my childhood efforts and totally over it? I loved your survey and I look forward to the 'is blogging just bragging?' post.

    1. I commend you childhood efforts - style tyrant? Or just getting involved and being proactive? I think it is exhausting to have ridiculous expectations of anything - but especially Christmas! Is that too ba-humbug? Ha-bumhug?

  3. I definitely relax. I have new ornaments and old ornaments. I still hang ornaments my children made when they were young (they are now 35, 42, and 45 years old). I hang ornaments my nephew's son send me with their photos on them. My tree is definitely a mish-mash and always has been. One year, my oldest son put the head of a doll atop the Christmas tree because they couldn't find the angel. Our tree always belonged to the children. I love it that way. Relax? Me? I'm going to get a glass of wine.

  4. That makes me sad that someone wouldn't let their kids decorate the tree - that's what it's all about!! I get sad when I see colour co-ordinated Christmas trees too. So boring! Where is the character, the memories, the stories with each piece? Ours is a total mishmash of lots from my own childhood as well as kinder creations, gifts from friends, etc.. I will admit to loving the gift wrapping part of it though and I do like to co-ordinate the gift wrapping. Havn't managed to get past the brown paper for years now!