Few Christmas decorating accoutrements disturb me the way shiny tinsel does. No kidding. I see packages of the stuff, and my breathing becomes shallow. And I am overcome with feelings of ineptness.

Tinsel was once the staple of Christmas tree decorations in mid-20th century America. Not so much after the ‘60’s. In fact, I haven’t seen a tinsel laden Christmas tree since the last time I watched The Bishop’s Wife, with Cary Grant, David Niven and Loretta Young.   And you would need an angel to make a tree look so good!

Even in black and white, its shimmering splendor reminded me of the trees my father put up. Not that ours looked like that.


TINSEL Par Excellence

I wonder now if my father secretly hoped it might.

We always had the tinsel on a tree — one filled with big colored electric bulbs and oh so breakable, colorful balls. He must have loved tinsel – every year we had at least four bundles. And he was methodical in stringing the lights, hanging the ornaments I didn’t drop, or step on, and finishing the tree with a silver haze of tinsel, despite me.

My father thought the best way to apply the tinsel was strand by strand; I believed in throwing it in clumps and hoping for the best.

And there in that memory is the root of my discomfort with tinsel – Tinsel that is not meticulously applied, gets hopelessly tangled . . . So, tinsel means a right way and a wrong way to get a job done . . . not welcome news to a child of the ‘60’s. Of course, insisting on following my father’s fussy methods can tangle up a girl just as predictably.

Looking for balance here.

This meme, then, is advice worth my heeding, especially in the run-up to the Holidays, and their aftermath:


What To Do with the TINSEL

But how?

  • Remember: Christmas is just one day – by January 25th, nobody will remember what I gave or forgot . . . they might remember how I behaved.

  • Remember, if God didn’t die and leave me in charge, neither did the spirit of the season. I can’t be  SANTA!

I have no idea what people need . . . even though they may tell me what they want. But, I believe it may be similar to what I wish for – to be useful, and to make a difference in the lives of those I love. I think even the littlest one on my list would respond to well to the gift of my time and attention – something Amazon Prime cannot deliver.

  • Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable. ~ Sydney J. Harris

God is not like Santa . . . His gifts are not a stocking stuffed with what’s on my wish list, nor is my stocking ever empty – He is the God of opportunities to try again.

PS: By the time Doug and I put up our first tree, tinsel was so passé that we never faced the question of how best to apply it – a great relief because I feared an attorney might be as meticulous as a banker, especially when I saw the precision with which he placed the ornaments. But, he has assured me, no, he is a tinsel-tosser, too. Yet another reason I love the guy!


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