Boxes and bins

“How many of these could you possibly need?” my husband asked in an exasperated tone.

Though he pointed in a general way at the plastic bins and packing boxes stacked on a shelf in the basement, I knew exactly what he was referring to. He’s asked me a dozen times before, in the same tone of voice.

“There’s three for Halloween, one for Easter, that empty one had my fall stuff in it, and all that is the Christmas stuff.” A solid response, if I do say so myself.

He rolled his eyes. He doesn’t get it. There are people who simply can’t understand the importance of having the right accessories for individual holidays, and I suspect that he considers each and every container superfluous clutter. Actually, I don’t suspect, I know, because he’s told me countless times. How many light-up ceramic pumpkins does one family need? And is it really necessary to dress up the fireplace mantle for autumn?

Well, yes. And sorry, Dear, but you shouldn’t doubt the importance of setting a scene.

This debate happens a handful of times each year. I have taken to hauling out all the boxes and bins when I’m home alone, just so that I don’t have to ensure the groaning and eye rolling. I get that it looks like garbage to the untrained eye, I do. But isn’t that exactly what basements are for; to house boxes of important stuff you don’t want hanging around your living space?

I remember living in our tiny little trailer in Port Hawkesbury, not so many years ago. There wasn’t a whole lot of room for anything, certainly not boxes of decorations, and even if there had been, I’d have had nowhere to put them. I would see the most beautifully decorated homes on TV and visiting my friends, and I longed for the day that I would have a house to decorate myself.

Given how much more space we had after we bought our house, it only made sense that I would fill some of it with the things I wanted space for.

In his defense, I may have gone a little overboard those first few years. I have an entire graveyard made of three-inch thick Styrofoam pieces, complete with fencing and zombies. I have flying ghosts and skulls and spiderwebs, and pumpkins. So. Many. Pumpkins. And that’s just Halloween.

I also decided, after I found myself with the space, that I would have an elaborate Christmas village. It didn’t take long to accumulate several bins worth of tiny skater figurines and ceramic churches, all of which had to be offset by greenery and white lights, which also needed bins. It was a pretty big production.

I had much more of this stuff when the kids were smaller and had more interest in it. As soon as the first chill hit the air, they used to start asking to decorate for Halloween, a process that used to take at least a day or two. As they’ve gotten older, their interest has faded, so it’s harder for me to get into the spirit when I feel like I’m the only one who enjoys it.

So, to that end, I have managed to significantly reduce my seasonal décor collections in recent years. I gave away my Christmas village, I donated all my Easter, Valentine’s Day, and St. Patrick’s Day decorations, and I have even parted with some Halloween items. I still have two boxes of Christmas items, but one is the red/gold stuff and the other is blue/silver, and as I alternate colour schemes year-to-year, I defy you to argue that I could do without either of them.

And let’s be honest, my boxes of décor take up only a tiny fraction of a basement filled with tools and sports equipment, none of which is mine.

Every mom I know does her part to usher in holidays and seasons, whether with a simple wreath on the door, or a Griswald-style yard remodeling. We decorate to make our house into a home, and to make special occasions even more special for the people who live there and the ones who visit. My house is nice, yes, but I like to believe it’s made that much nicer as soon as I hammer in the stake of the wooden sign that says “Trick or Treat If You Dare.”

And incidentally, when I don’t do as much decorating as usual, someone (who shall remain nameless) always notices and asks why. I think he likes it and doesn’t even know it.