Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

On the Nonth Day of Christmas

OK, OK, technically I know it isn't the anythingth day of Christmas yet.  But that is not the way I felt on a recent unavoidable venture out into Retail Land.

Locally, landscaping crews had been out decking the strip malls with faux greenery and lights well before most shopping trips had been made for the Thanksgiving feasting.  Early Decorators, like my bunch, and Back to the Fridge Charlie's family, have put our lights up outside and trees up inside already because it is a fair amount of work to do so and we want time to enjoy it before having to take it all down again.  

Result is, snow or not, it is indeed beginning to look a lot like, well, you know, all around the town.

Outside the stores, Salvation Army kettle guard are ring-a-dinging (are they earlier this year and is that a sign of economic woes yet to come?).  Inside the stores, candy canes and other seasonal offerings such as "Festive Designs" Ziplock® bags are prominently displayed.  

Finally my plastic storage bags are getting into the spirit of things! Nothing says "I count you as one of my true friends" like spoilage retardant packaging. I question if many others are going to buy into the idea that a "Festive Design" (mine have snowflakes!) plastic storage bag is what now constitutes "wrapping" for a gift?  Do you think?

I am not asking incredulously mind you, I am asking sincerely and hopefully because if that is all it takes, popping your gift into a plastic storage bag and zipping the thing shut? If that is going to pass for "wrapped" this year, then I am golden.  I am set.  I am in like Flint.

Yeah, the use of plastic bags could be seen as a very green way to get out of spending hours planning then thematically wrapping decahedron shaped packages, tricking out variously less challenging square and rectangular gift boxes, all taking approximately .0145 parsecs apiece to unwrap.  

Pop that gift into a ziplock, put it under the tree, open it on Christmas Day, shake it out and put leftovers in it afterwards. Score one for the polar bears. Tread water no more, my furry arctic friends, Ziplock® resuable bags to the rescue!

Extravagantly wrapped gifts used to be the name of the game around here when the kids were in house.  All gifts would be purchased as far ahead of time as was humanly possible given the potentially explosive child growth spurts any given year.  Then the gifts would be wrapped, no, not just wrapped, but decorated, and set out well ahead of time under the tree.  Viewing the evocatively well wrapped presents was enough on its own to entice and delight.  

Delight in the sense of setting off other festive holiday observations such as tabulating the to/from tags in order to facilitate accurate gift counting and weighing contests  games between siblings.  For several years running, the early appearance of wrapped gifts also triggered a recognition on the part of one of our (past) cats that she was operating under a serious paper deficit. This was quickly remedied by her contentedly gnawing at the edges of our wrapped gifts whenever we left the room.

Which - hello Kitty! - reminds me of my original intent here.  I was/am reporting on how our experiment in being a Christmas Treed People is going with the new cat on board.

Stage One; putting the upper two thirds of the tree into the stand, throwing on the tree skirt and berry garland and leaving it out undecorated, went well.  For safety I duct taped the tree stand to the table it sits on. A) The taped parts all go under the tree skirt and won't show and 2) I used purple!  It's the holidays! This should mean a more stable platform if latent feline arboreal tendencies are triggered.   Hopefully we won't test that premise.  

Stage Two begins today with a few decorations added to see how strong an association the cat might make between the things she is supposed to pounce on, chase around and unleash her full predatory fury upon, and the things that are OffCatLimits decorating the tree.  A case could be made that some of the decorations
Church Mouse ornaments made by both grandmas.  Cute as can be, yeah?
bear a striking similarity to cat toys,
This cat toy looked a cuter before it was subjected to being "played with".  Really.
dontcha think?  Add in the occasional movement triggered by ceiling fans or human proximity, and I think we may have our holiday work cut out for us.

As with anything else, all of this can potentially be seen as a positive or negative. 

I could choose to ignore the fact that this little cat who adopted us only a couple of months ago has already completely won us over.  Her tenacity, affectionate insistence on being close by at all times, and conversational nature, among other traits, all have us happily back to being a feline centric household once more.
Yeah, maybe we won't tempt fate and will leave the church mice off the tree this year.  
Or I might market the concept of "chase the cat away from the tree" as a sure-fire way for people watching their weight to burn off the extra calories that are the inevitable result of holiday goody snacking.  
This move, the Balanchine inspired "paw de tomber sur", gets high scores from the Eastern European judges.
If all else fails we can let the cat play with the stuff on the tree and decorate the bejabbers out of her specially purchased cat bed.  Bijou seems determined to completely ignore that.  Gotta work with our strengths here.   
LED lights-environmentally groovy but not quite so bright as the old school bulbs.
As always, I'll keep you posted.  Merry light stringing to you whenever and however that happens at your house.   Now get out there and deck those halls, y'all!

Oh, one last thing. Quick readers survey if you please. Share in the comments section what YOU would do with a gift that arrived "wrapped" in a Festive Design Storage bag?


bee said...

enjoy decorating, dear deb. hope you had a great thanksgiving. there's something for you here.


Flapjacks said...

no gifts for me, please, but, i think the idea is a good one. through some festive paper in there to 'conceal' the goods, and it's on.

PassivePastry said...

please discontinue blogging for the next week, as i love to procrastinate by reading you.
k, thanks.
that said......
my mom gets into the themed wrapping. she also does themed trees. a bird tree on the back porch. a purple or sometimes gold tree in the house. a gingerbread house kitchen. ETC. ETC.
my stepdad wraps gifts in black garbage bags.
i wrap gifts in recycled played on bingo paper or telephone pages.

i think festive storage containers would be GREAT wrapping. and i'd definitely use it for food or stuffs afterwards.
you can wrap my gift in those anytime-o-year. :)