All Strung Out

Thanksgiving weekend is a special one for husbands. We put up Christmas decorations under the direction of our wives.

There are many things no one tells you before you get married, but one of the best kept secrets that women successfully hide from men is the mandatory hanging of the Christmas decorations.

While single men across the nation ring in the holiday season watching sports in their underwear, married men bundle up, put on their mountain climbing gear and hang from the eaves of their home to string lights, hook up blinking reindeer, and set up inflatable Santas on their front lawn.

I’m not sure which strand of the female DNA includes the decoration compulsion, but I know that most of them have it in their makeup. Like clockwork, Thanksgiving ends and women feel the uncontrollable urge to have their husbands climb into a dusty attic, drag down 23 boxes of decorations, unpack them and put them out on display.

I’ve never been to the North Pole, but I’d highly doubt that even Santa puts up that much stuff.

If it were up to men, we’d stack empty beer cans in the shape of a tree in the corner of the living room and spray it with that fake snow in a can.

My high school classmate Jeanenne told me that she has 36 Christmas trees in her 2,000 square foot house in Little Rock. She also has an antique Ford truck covered in over 1,000 lights, and an 11-foot nutcracker who stays in one of her beds. I love my friend Jeanenne. Her dad was one of the barbers in my hometown and cut my hair growing up. But, lest my wife get any additional decorating ideas, we won’t be visiting her in Little Rock during the holiday season.

When I was a kid, we went out into the woods Thanksgiving weekend and cut a live tree. It was always cold, and my father spent most of our excursion keeping my sister and I focused on the task at hand. After trudging through the forest and cutting down the selected cedar with a handsaw, we’d drag the tree back out, tie it to the top of the car, and off we’d go to set it up at home.

My mom would get the lights out and we’d cross our fingers that one of the bulbs hadn’t gone out since the last Christmas. If one bulb was out, the whole string didn’t work.

My sister and I would pop popcorn and string it with a needle and thread and then add it to the tree. We also had silver tinsel. Angels and other figures we’d made out of construction paper in school and Sunday School were put on the limbs.

To this day, whenever I smell a cedar tree, I think of Christmas in 1960s Arkansas.

I’m sure my father felt the same pressure to go all out with the Christmas decorations that I, and now my sons, feel.

It’s a right of passage, I guess.

So, as I sit here lacing up my mountain climbing boots and checking the spikes on the bottom of both to ensure I don’t fall off the roof, I salute those of you who never take your Christmas lights down.

The rest of the year, people make fun of you. But, right now, you look like the smartest person in the world.

©2014 John Moore
For more of John’s musings, visit

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