I like Christmas, I really do.
I’m always a little surprised to hear someone say that they don’t. To me, the dislike inevitably always boils down to poor management, doesn’t matter the back story.
What do you see when you look at the following picture?
Do you see a brightly decorated foyer with a festively blue wreath above the door, or is that a translucently hot sun about to go supernova and tear you and your family limb from limb? I’m going to suggest that both are possible depending on how you look at it. This can either be the prelude to an idyllic Christmas, or it can the foreshadowing of utter bloody terror. What’s the difference? I believe the answer is expectations.
In the first scenario, the only expectation is that you’ll be home, happy with your family, and hopefully you’ll get to enjoy some relaxing time off and a couple of good meals. Pretty simple, easy to fulfill. In the next scenario, well, I don’t have enough space here for the lists, recipes, schedules, budgets, planning, planning, and more planning that needs to takes place. And that show really needs to hit the road ASAP if it’s going to get some traction by December.
The first scenario has fairly low expectations. The second’s are in the stratosphere. So the trick is to simply bring those expectations down. Manage them.
Part of that is letting everyone know you want to keep it as simple as possible this year:
Take a page from the people in the business district, they didn’t dick around. “Throw a string of shit on that tree and let’s get the fuck outta here, we’ve got money to make”, is most probably how it went down. The essence of pragmatism.
But the idea is to take a page and not the whole book, because otherwise you start getting stuff like this:
Okay, it’s certainly better than barf on the windows, but it seems a little cold. Guess I’m more of a traditional Christmas kinda guy; gimme a fireplace, a mug full of booze, and a comely lass on the knee. Trees are also nice. I probably wouldn’t choose to put giant, blood-red impalement pyramids in the entrance to my place. I think it gives off the wrong message.
Bay Street sure likes it’s Christmas angular and abstract. But that’s okay, I don’t expect any more than that.
I did, however, expect the Eaton Centre’s decorations to be a little more involved. On Thursday evening they jammed the mall to unveil the Swarovski Crystal Tree so I had to delay getting a good look at it. Either that or elbow kids in wheelchairs to get to the front of the crowd during the ceremony. That didn’t seem very Christmasy. But today I got to sip an apple-carrot juice in peace and stare at a whole bunch of crystal hanging on a tree, hardly having to put any elbows into kids’ faces:
Something like this should’ve gone into Yonge-Dundas Square. It’s big, it’s loud; it’s a man’s tree. Even with all the glitter on it. If it means having armed guards around if it goes outside, so be it. That’s the price of fame.
But back to the Christmas and expectations thing, the Eaton Centre met mine well enough with the tree. But I also know that they hang a bunch of stuff from the rafters that’s usually pretty busy and fun to look at:
The more I look at that, the more I become convinced it’s a Christmas tree blasting off into deep space. That I didn’t expect. There’s also an unexpected scenario happening at the north end of the mall:
It’s difficult to see, but that sleigh has no passenger. The reindeer are in full gallop, dashing towards the stars (on a collision course with the tree!), and Santa’s plummeting down head-first somewhere in the background. In my mind. Also not expected, and quite an amusing tableau.