The Lexingtonienne



When I was growing up in the 80s, my mom occasionally came up with an almost-like-Martha-Stewart idea for a little homespun Christmas flare.

For example, one year, instead of buying Christmas wrapping paper, she bought an endless roll of white paper and a mega pack of Crayolas and set my sister and me to work. We were thrilled that we got to decorate all the wrapping paper… until we spent an entire week after school detailing reindeer, snowmen, and tiny holly berries and only covered about two gifts’ worth of paper. When Sister and I realized how much work was involved, we abandoned ship and returned to our regularly scheduled after-school Brady Bunch viewing.

The next year my mom decided we would bedeck our dogwood trees with homemade popcorn-and-cranberry garland. Super fun! We threaded extra sharp needles onto several feet of string, alternately jabbing the needles through cranberries and popcorn pieces to form long, festive strands. But the popcorn was greasy (I’m pretty sure we used Pop Secret; after all, it was the 80s). And the cranberries were tough and slippery. I poked my thumbs about 25 times before deciding this project was for the birds. (Literally it WAS for the birds. They would eat the popcorn and the cranberries and then poop red all over the sidewalk. Merry Christmas from the Martins, everyone!)

When my sister and I tell these stories, my mom thinks we are coming down on her and implying that she was a big meanie, a slave driver who made children toil in the name of decor. The truth is, we have the best mom in the whole world, and these memories are some of our funniest and therefore most cherished. Look at how happy we were on one of our rare breaks from Christmas slave labor.

Christmas Photos

So in a few years, will I have Eleanora coloring wrapping paper and stringing popcorn cranberry garland?


But in honor of homemade wrapping paper, popcorn cranberry garland, and all Christmas decorations (both successes and not-so-successes), on the Fourth Day of Christmas…


*I’m not going to lie. The Mannheim Steamroller version is terrible. But my dad always played it (still does), and — in spite of the fact that I find it virtually unlistenable — my Christmas playlist wouldn’t be complete without it.

Fa la la la la, la la la la,



  • Comment by kelly bradley — December 4, 2012 @ 9:07 am

    Thank you for making me laugh out loud this morning!

  • Comment by Sydney Doctor — December 4, 2012 @ 10:47 am

    It looks like you apparently also won the gold medal for Christmas slave labor! I am assuming it is the gold…or maybe the frankincense or myrrh??

  • Pingback by Christmas Morning Sausage Casserole - The Lexingtonienne — December 19, 2012 @ 9:41 am

    […] mom has on her permanent record a very short list of not-so-successful Christmas projects. But she scores a far greater number of Christmas triumphs. Take, for example, the doll house in […]

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