Monday, December 22, 2008

Haul Out the Holly

If you're like me (and why wouldn't you be?), then you spent every free moment over the past couple of weeks making bows on your Bowdabra. If you don't have a Bowdabra, then I truly feel sorry for you. Basically, you know when you're making a bow and you ask someone to put their finger in place, so you can tie it? Well, for $14, the Bowdabra will do that for you, with almost no attitude.

With bows made and presents wrapped, we put up our lovely silver tinsel tree and used our black ornaments and black trim again this year. Usually we do a different theme from year to year, but when we were packing to move, the black ornaments were closer to the door of the storage unit. So they got to come along with us. Plus, I'm finding there's a lot of value in the fact that our Asheville friends have never seen our old bag of tricks. So we've been able to recycle and reuse everything from party themes to dinner menus to stories, and improve upon them for a new audience. Of course, we can only do that for so long here, then we'll have to move someplace new and start all over, like con artists fleeing from town to town.

Seeking some inspiration for our "Old-Fashioned Southern Christmas," we decided to make the trip to Gatlinburg for the Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade. Now, this was right after the Asheville Holiday Parade, so I think my expectations were higher than they should have been. I don't know about you, but a bunch of freezing, sullen teenagers stomping down the street don't exactly inspire warm feelings of holiday spirit. A nighttime parade with lots of lights can't make up for a noticeable lack of "sparkle" amongst the cast. Luckily, we were providing our own "sparkle" thanks to our flasks and mini bottles of booze.

The next morning, we headed off to Dollywood to check out their idea of Christmas in the Smokey Mountains. As you know, before I became an international country music star, I grew up in the Smokeys. Wait, that wasn't me. That was Dolly. And Dollywood didn't disappoint, at least where decorations and festivities were concerned. The whole park was festooned with lights and holiday merriment. It was lovely. All the rides were closed, because of the cold, so we spent most of our time walking around shopping, eating and wishing everyone a "Gary Christmas." We did this, of course, because our friend Gary was with us, and it seemed like a good idea at the time. Since it was so cold, we ducked into one of the theaters and enjoyed a live holiday concert, which was surprisingly secular up until the very end, when the angel and the fog machine showed up.

I came home inspired, but not from visions of an "Old-Fashioned Southern Christmas" in my head, but from the growing feeling that with our tinsel tree and black ornaments, we should probably just be ourselves and let the sugarplums fall where they may. Several years ago, one of our rejected party themes was Cirque du Snowflake, which Michael hated, but I thought was just horrible enough to actually be good. So, stealing a little from that theme, we decorated the outside of the house and our driveway with snowflake lights, then added snowflake touches here and there around inside.

The retro house, the silver tree and the glittering snowflakes have given our little mountain home a cold, sterile and soulless feeling, so I couldn't be happier!

We were ready for a party.

More to come...

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