It all started when I decided to attend the Historic Boulder Homes for the Holidays Tour. Up until then, my required holiday decorations consisted of one fresh poinsettia and one Christmas tree. Little did I know that purchasing a ticket in 1994 to support Historic Boulder would ruin my life forever.
The tour included several homes located on “The Hill” in Boulder. As I trudged up the snowy path to a gingerbread-like house, I noticed a pretty black-haired lady walk up beside me. Being fairly outgoing, I said, “I love this wreath!”
“Why thank you very much!” she said. Then she flashed me a broad smile. I realized this must be the owner. As I entered, my breath was taken away by the all the fresh magnolia and pine swags above picture frames and mirrors with a large one draped over the stairway. Others graced long buffets and table tops. The scent of fresh flowers mixed with evergreens raised my spirits, but unbeknownst to me it was the first enticement in turning toward the dark side. I laudably gasped and said to her, “This is the most beautiful home I’ve ever seen. I only wish my mother was here in time for the tour. She would really enjoy this,” I said with tears in my eyes.
“Bring her over when she comes to town!” she replied, “I’m Patsy Ramsey by the way.”
I introduced myself to this gracious lady knowing that I would never have the nerve to knock on her door again. I continued along with her for a while as I felt myself shifting into an altered state. Fabulous antiques graced each room. She informed me that many of the pieces came from estates in the south. I lost her as we entered the kitchen.
The sprawling house covered 3 floors culminating in a fabulous master suite in the newly remodeled attic space. Two curio cabinets flanked the entry. Neither the one filled to the brim with all of Patsy’s crowns and sashes from pageant competitions, nor the other stuffed with baby shoes, baptismal outfits and mementoes of her children Jon Benet and Blake could possibly prepare me for what I saw when I entered the room. The foot of the bed housed a television that rose by remote. The perfectly appointed space had entries to his and her bathrooms and closets. Although his was quite understated and unremarkable, hers was on a level I had never seen before. Shoes and gowns bagged, and boxed, marked and categorized with the dates and pageants lined the walls from floor to ceiling. I think that I owned 5 pair of shoes at the time. I wound back down from that third floor trophy room in a zombie-like state of shock.
I drove to North Boulder and stepped into my unadorned home knowing my life as I knew it was over. After being surrounded with lovely holiday décor, I shuddered as I looked around at the bare surfaces. I greeted my husband and kids, gave them a quick hug and ran back out to the car, speeding off to the craft store. My addiction had begun.
Since that fateful day, I have anticipated the after Christmas sales like an addict waiting for a fix. I have poured over catalogs and then planned strategies – equal to a serious combat mission – for shopping on the 26th. I have dragged my mother and sister Patty along and we have taken turns standing in long lines while filling shopping baskets full of the half price holiday items.
17 years later, I look around my home with the full knowledge that we will not be entertaining during the holiday season and this should put an end to the madness. But this obsession with the need to decorate runs deep. It has infected even the most logical part of my personality. Every last Christmas tree - yes there are several - will be put up and every box will be unpacked. Our home will be transformed for my family – oh please – for myself!
While touring the Ramsey home, I gasped at the amazing decorations and caught the bug that will probably infect me for a lifetime. It can be contagious and I have unwittingly infected others. This is the burden I have to bear. So this year as I look around at my own festive home I would like to say, “Thanks a lot Patsy Ramsey wherever you are…”
Do you decorate for the holidays or are you satisfied with a Christmas tree?
Click on top photo for link to site
Daily Camera Newspaper photo by Mick Grassmick
All other photos by S. Lindau