Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Cranberries, evergreens, and a reptile ranch

Route 66 Christmas Tree
Lately I've been a decorating fiend... I put up some clear lights outside last week. Then, I decided to go out and get a Christmas tree, despite the fact that I'm actually not going to be here for Christmas. I lugged the tree back, dug up my stand and lights, and set the whole thing up in the front hall, where you can see it through my front door.

I don't actually have many genuine Christmas ornaments -- in fact, I'm pretty much limited to a couple of boxes of generic glass balls. So I had to get a bit creative. In some dark recess of my brain, I remembered making Christmas tree garlands out of cranberries and popcorn. It took two grocery runs to find whole cranberries in Nashville, but I was soon stringing up a storm, with only minor needle injuries. It takes a long time to do a whole tree that way, but it's pretty mindless work and I watched a movie while I was working on it.

Turns out that I somewhat underestimated the number of linear feet of cranberries in a bag. (These folks need to investigate this!) Despite creative use of cranberry spice sauce for dinner on Sunday night, I still have two bags left. Anyone have any good cranberry recipes?

After the garlands were on the tree, it still looked a bit empty. So I wandered around my house looking for ideas until I found a book of Route 66 paper cutouts, purchased for their kitsch value a few years ago while on vacation in Arizona. I pulled out the book and started happily punching out pieces and putting tab A into slot B to create models of all sorts of Mother Road ephemera -- fireworks stands, Mexican restaurants, Airstream trailers, and more. I then carefully punched holes in the cutouts and stuck them on the tree. So I now have a kitschy Middle-American tree with cranberries and popcorn. (If you look carefully, you can even find an adult bookstore.)

I also have a wreath on the door, greens on the window sills, and a cat determined to make herself sick eating Pointsettia leaves. Plus I made fudge and prepared dough for sugar and spice cookies. I'm totally down with the whole holiday thing this year.

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