Anybody like this song? And since we’re talking ’90s pop culture, does anybody like this movie, which has the song on its soundtrack? I first saw “Clueless” at a sleepover when I was way too young to understand most of what was going on. I watched it again last year and actually got the satire. Not only that, but I was delighted to hear “Fake Plastic Trees,” something I definitely didn’t appreciate about the film all those years ago. The point of this rambling, in case you were worrying that there wasn’t one, is that I have a fake plastic tree of my own. Most of the year I hide it under my bed. But for a couple months, it’s going to live in the open.
It’s a bit of a scraggly beast, I know, but it helps dress the room for the holidays. In my opinion, ambiance is more important than buxom branches. Then, of course, there’s always the convenience of a break-apart design that allows for compact storage during 80% of the year. Real-tree lovers, don’t hate me.
I realized the anemic branches could benefit from decor that offered a bit of depth. As a teenager, I read that the best-decorated trees boast lights zigzagged from trunk to branch tips and back, repeated from bottom to top. This made the tree look fuller, the magazine article promised. We tried it on the family tree that Christmas and, wishful thinking or reality, we swore it worked. Last year I didn’t have lights.
This year I found a great price on mini lights at the hardware store, so I bought 2 strands and went to town weaving them back and forth. I won’t pretend that it makes the tree look robust and natural. All the same, it does create the glowy atmosphere I remember basking in during many winter evenings as a kid. There’s just something about turning off the lights in the room and plugging in the lights on the tree.
While I was in the decorating swing of things, I changed more than the tree. The shelf I had arranged like this…
Yes; we can breathe a collective, “Yikes!”
Last weekend, after staring repeatedly at that shelf and the several small objects atop it, I had a “eureka” moment: the remedy for this mishmash was one large-scale, unifying piece of art. So I set about creating it with parcel paper, wide tape, and acrylic paint.
The painting process was time-consuming but also soothingly mind-numbing, so I’m counting the creation of this monstrosity as therapy rather than genius. Which it clearly was not. For now my solution is to turn the painting toward the wall. This leaves me staring at the tape that holds together the two pieces of paper and thinking I really should redo that project. I need something bold and simple. (Believe it or not, that’s what I was going for the first time, so…wish me luck.)
Okay, let’s see that new arrangement again to recapture the serene feeling I’m hoping to cultivate in this year’s Christmas decor:
Whew! I have several little ideas to implement in the living room this holiday season, but time is so short. I think I may just keep writing down the ideas without doing them. For now I need to sit still and soak up the golden gleam of lights bedecking my fake plastic tree.