Take a Bow
I'm no Yuletyrant but I have my limits.
Get your holly-wreath-tinsel-laden ass off the couch and get busy. It is officially the one time of the year where we have an excuse to be OTT and indulge our inner elf festooning houses, pets and streets.
Lucky for me I live in a very ‘Wisteria-Lane-Leave-It-To-Beaver’ leafy, polite suburban crescent. It is basically where all originality and rebellious youth goes to die (RIP 1990s). Conformity reigns and at no time is this more evident than at Christmas.
Four years ago the chairperson of our CHoC committee (Christmas, Halloween and other Celebrations), decided each house should tie a red ribbon around the trees that line our long winding avenue. We immediately put down our gin and tonics to golf clap such a wonderful community-minded idea. How could this not motivate our neighbours in the lead up to the traditional street Christmas party (the success of which is measured by the empty Sauvignon Blanc bottles, a village of Tupperware, white platters and salad servers being left out the front of number nine).
It was decided that we would put a ‘gentle’ suggestion at the bottom of the annual street Christmas party invitation.
“We would like you to join us in tying a festive red bow around your nature strip tree from November 25. It is nylon net (tulle) red, 137cm wide. Approximately 5 metres per tree is required.”
What could possibly go wrong?
Sadly I discovered, that the likelihood of my much-loved neighbours successfully tying a bow around a tree ran a regretful second to my close held dream of ever owning a Birkin. There seemed also to be a rampant outbreak of colour blindness. CORAL OR FUCHSIA IS NOT RED!
I was straight on to our CHoC chairperson. She knew exactly why I was calling.
'If you are calling me about the fucking bows don't get me started,' was her warm salutation, 'Why if for no other reason was YouTube invented but to teach you how to tie a freakin’ bow?
A bow requires a commitment to tie, re-tie and kwaff. It’s not like tying your shoelaces. It can take up to five minutes to tie an aesthetically pleasing bow. The length of the ribbon must also be directly in proportion to the girth and height of the tree. Are we reaching for the stars here people?
While we acknowledge that some individuals are either colour blind or simply clueless, instructions are there for the safety of residents and visitors. Could you imagine the damage caused by drivers distracted by the repulsiveness of a rogue ribbon?
The Gent (enter random cameo from hubby) had trouble understanding my distress. He thinks I have an unrealistic expectation of people when it comes to Christmas decorations. This from a man who every year seems to mummify himself in the Christmas lights.
It was decided, to be kind, we would leave it a few days to see if our well-meaning neighbours would see the glaring inconsistencies in their bow tying and come to their senses. Then at future Christmas parties we would fall about laughing recalling the year they all stuffed up the tree ribbon. Ahhhhh good times.
A week later, no one gave a crap.
There was only one thing to do.
As the self-appointed ribbon aficionados, madam chairperson and moi-self, armed with the CORRECT bolt of red ribbon (that’s the fancy word for roll of material), scissors and tape measure, trawled up and down the street retying each bow and removing any illegal trimming. On a somewhat confusing note, we also had a driver pulling over to ask what political cause we were promoting? Umm.
We now do this every year and while we are aware the neighbours purposely make an unsightly mess of their ribbons (knowing the ribbon-tying committee of two will come cursing by to bring them all into uniformed perfection), it has become a lovely annual tradition that leaves our street looking festive, warm and primed for lots of community cheer.
And in the true tradition of Monty Python the same lady drives by every year, as we wrangle branches and bunting wanting to know if we are protesting human rights abuses in China? Do you seriously not own a calendar, love?