Opinion: Tinsel wars

Commentary by Danielle Wilson

When my husband and I were first married, holidays, particularly Christmas, were a struggle.  We both come from large families with very specific rituals and traditions. I grew up with Scotch pines, Christmas Eve skits, and Santa’s gifts unwrapped. Doo remembers Fraser firs, reading “The Night Before Christmas the night before Christmas” and receiving one “Santa set-out.” Initially, the only thing we had in common were the big, multi-colored lights that emitted dangerously high levels of heat. It was a start, and we survived our first few Decembers without counseling.

But when we began having kids, things intensified. Where would we spend Christmas? Whose traditions would we follow? At the heart of the matter, whose family was better? And even after 20 years, we are still having to tweak our Wilson-Morris melding of holiday cheer (though I contend that live theater is far better than a book reading!).

Take for instance the tinsel battle. I grew up with tinsel. I clearly remember my parents fighting over the stuff, mom clumping it on the branches just to be done with the whole tree-trimming mess, and dad, following behind her, barking, “You can’t just throw it on, Patty! You have to lay it carefully, strand by strand!” I truly believe Christmas trees are naked without tinsel.

Doo, unfortunately, did not experience the magic of tinsel in his house, and when I suggested it for our first tree together, he scoffed at the idea. So we compromised. Every other year would be a tinsel year. 2016? Tinsel! And yet Doo behaved like a child when I broke it out last week and instructed everyone on its proper handling and application (no clumping, one strand per branch.  Don’t screw it up!). “Well, the tree looked good a minute ago,” he’d declare. Really? Are we not passed this Yuletide pettiness?

No, we are not. But that’s the thing about marriage. It really doesn’t matter how long you’ve been together. Compromise will always play a leading role. And if I have to sacrifice “Mommie Dearest” reenactments, then Doo must learn to embrace tinsel, in all its sparkly beauty. Peace out.