Things are pretty crazy busy at mydangblog’s place right now, so here’s a little something from 2015 that you might enjoy (the original, My Week 59, also has a bit about my possessed vacuum cleaner):
Real Life Versus Magazine Christmas
I love decorating magazines. I have subscriptions to at least three different ones, and every month, I pour through the pages for ideas. I’m a visual learner at heart—I can read text very quickly and easily, but I LOVE anything with pictures. Anyway, Christmas is coming up, so all the current editions are focused on Christmas decorating and festive parties. As I was gleefully devouring up the images, it suddenly occurred to me how absolutely unrealistic it all was. Sure, I know that everything’s staged, but this year it seems that magazine editors have become so intensely out of touch with how REAL people live that I started to view everything with an extremely critical eye. Here are some of the more bizarre statements and ideas that I came across:
1) A designer on his Christmas room design challenge: “I arrived upon this magical masculine scene by mixing patterns and textures with eclectic objects. While the palette and the furnishings are traditional, the vignette feels fresh, thanks to whimsical organic touches like the felt bird ornaments and the pompom tree skirt.” Let me translate: “Nothing matches”. Also, “men like magicky things, and pompoms”. Someone should clue in this designer that real birds are organic; felt birds are NOT whimsical–they are things that kindergarten children make. Prize for runner-up goes to this designer’s statement: “I like to mix traditional with modern, and pair maximalist notions with more restrained sculptural items.” Again, nothing matches, but this time it’s JUST F*CKING INSANITY OVER HERE!
2) A page devoted to “choosing the perfect tree”. I don’t need a page of tips. This is how we pick a tree at my house:
Ken: That one over there looks nice.
Me: It’s too cold to walk that far. This one’s fine.
Ken: But it’s missing half its branches.
Me: That side can go against the wall. Hurry up, I’m freezing.
3) A decorating article on “Wrapping Pillows like a Present” to create a holiday feel. Screw that—I can’t even wrap a PRESENT like a present, let alone stupid accent pillows. If you’ve ever gotten a present from me, you might have thought at first that a toddler wrapped it. But the torn paper and scotch tape all over the place just reinforce how much I love you, NOT that I’m super-uncoordinated and have unwieldy manhands.
4) “Fun Things To Do With Your Elf On A Shelf”. Here’s the most fun thing I can imagine—put it in the toilet and watch it grin maniacally as it tries not to drown. Keep swimming, Bjorn! For a full treatise on the elvish devilspawn, please see My Week 61.
5) “Decorative pieces should change with the season”. Seriously? Who the hell has time to redecorate their entire house “with the season”? If you’ve got the kind of time to put everything in storage to make way for your holiday sh*t, then put all that away in January and completely redecorate AGAIN, you’re most likely neglecting other areas of your life, like your children or your personal hygiene.
6) A designer on a recent dinner party disaster: “Go with the flow. My copper garland broke, so I placed the beads across the dining table, and they looked pretty. ..it was a happy accident.” Absolutely. The next time I break a Christmas ornament, I will definitely strew the dining table with the shards.
7) Party tip a): “Always have a signature drink ready for your guests and hand it to them as they arrive.” We have a signature drink in my house—it’s called “wine”. When you arrive, you can have some of this tasty signature drink, or I can pour you a shot of the cooking brandy that’s been sitting in the back of the kitchen cupboard for the last ten years (I don’t cook with brandy that often).
8) Party tip b): “The Fabulous Four-Step Appetizer”. I can do you one better—the Tasty TWO-Step Appetizer. Step one, take a piece of cheese. Step two, put it on a cracker. For the adventurous, I also have the Throroughly Three-mendous Appetizer, where you can add a piece of kielbasa from the plate on the counter before the dog sneaks in and eats it all.
9) Party tip c): “Consider your guests’ dietary restrictions.” I am the f*cking master of this. I can create a veritable feast for people who are gluten-free, vegetarian, piscaterian, lactose intolerant, who only eat chicken, who can’t eat spicy food, and who refuse to eat normal human food like rice, pasta, or most green vegetables because they (Dad) are just plain picky. I do this because I love them all so much. Which brings me to my last point:
10) Magazine cover: “128 Ideas for an amazing Christmas”. Here’s the deal—you don’t need 128 ideas. You don’t even need ONE idea. All you need is the people you love the most—weird-ass food preferences, magic-y pompons, and all. Christmas isn’t about how beautiful and pristine your house is—it’s about the people (and animals) in it.
Merry Christmas everyone!