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Wendy Etherington | Holiday Decorating–Friend or Foe?

December 18, 2008

Wendy EtheringtonWell, finally, the village is assembled!

Is my shopping done? No. How about baking/cooking? Ah, no. Do I have any idea what I’m wearing to the holiday parties this weekend? Definitely not. But the village–the porcelain, hand-painted, Victorian-era, more-expensive-every-year, oversized project is up, so Christmas is officially here.

Wendy's Village
Wendy’s Christmas Village

I’m not one of those people who are constantly evaluating and redoing my house. I know those who strive to have every stick of furniture and accessory in place, whose homes are showplaces of decorating magnificence. They’re proud–and have every right to be–of their talents in coordination, cutting-edge style and color.

Me? I move in, scatter stuff around and nod. That’ll work for a good decade.

So Christmas is the only time I putter and angst over coordinating colors, greenery, ornaments, lights, hiding electrical cords and, ah yes, that crazy, precious village.

Like all loyal children, I blame my mother.

She started my collection when my husband and I were first married over seventeen years ago. When my kids were little, I let them hang whatever ornaments they wanted on the tree any which way. They shook packages with glee. But touch Mama’s village? That was a line nobody dared cross.

NASCAR 3Why I spend three hours of assembly, plus at least two trips to the craft store to update details, then obsess and rearrange for up to a week, I’m not really sure. Maybe it’s the novelist control freak in me. All those little porcelain people to place and move around, each one with their imaginary lives trapped in a joyous moment of time. Maybe it’s the cuteness of those people, tiny and delicate. Maybe it’s the warmth of the lights shining through the windows, glowing against the cotton pretending to be snow.

More likely it’s simply the satisfaction of a project launched, completed and suitable for showcasing within a week–a rarity in the book business.

So, while there’s no racing until February, I’m unlikely to have a white Christmas and there are deadlines looming after the new year’s champagne goes flat, I have my family to hang out with as my village lights glimmer in the background.

Wendy Etherington

AFTER DARK, Harlequin Blaze, January 2009

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