Ryan Trares: the decoration dilemma disappears



The kitchen table looked like the fall section of a craft store that had vomited all over it.

Pumpkins of all shapes, sizes, colors and materials were stacked in a row. Intimate wooden signs proclaiming “Harvest” and “Spooky” were ready for window sills. Smiling ghosts, scarecrows and pumpkins were everywhere you turned.

As the centerpiece, a black ceramic Christmas tree, covered in orange and purple lights, stood among it all.

I finally gave in.

My family pestered me for weeks to start putting out fall and Halloween decorations. Even when it was still mid-August, they were ready to move into the next season – making our home cozy and comfortable, even when the weather outside was hot and humid.

But I’m a strict holiday decorating traditionalist. There’s a time and a place to put up the various trinkets, wall hangings, and other items to celebrate throughout the year.

Red, white and blue flags and props go up on Memorial Day and last until July 4th. Christmas trees can come out of storage the day after Thanksgiving. Fall decorations only go up in the fall.

My wife and son disagree, calling me a spoilsport and a baby. I can take it. I have my beliefs, and since I’m the only one who can reach the crates of pumpkins, ghosts, and fake fall leaves, I have the final say.

Finally, this week, I felt the time had come. For one thing, fall officially started at 9:04 p.m. Thursday for us here in Indiana. And after a blast of 90-degree heat and high humidity, the weather settled into an autumnal chill.

Anthony and I went to the garage to assess the state of our decorations. It took some research, rearranging the boxes on the shelf, going from Christmas decorations and the artificial tree to the boxes I put away last November.

But we wrote everything down, and in the kitchen we started unpacking. Anthony channeled his inner interior designer, scanning each room, finding the perfect spot for that fox figurine leaning on a pumpkin or the black metal haunted house.

He discovered things that I had completely forgotten. At some point in the past few years, he had made a whole host of foam pumpkin ornaments, complete with goofy smiles and funny faces. We hung them on the decorative birch tree in our foyer, a silly surprise to welcome visitors.

In the large bay window at the back of the house, he proudly displayed his latest find – a solar-powered figurine of Snoopy holding a pumpkin, given to him by his grandparents.

We were able to put almost everything in the right place, without the house feeling cluttered or buried under an avalanche of trinkets.

By the time it got dark, with some of the light decorations on, a candle lit and we all settled on the couch, it was fine.

It was like autumn.

Ryan Trares is a senior reporter and columnist at the Daily Journal. Send feedback to [email protected]

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