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Decorating retirement for Mrs. Griswold

December 16, 2012
By JANICE R. KIASKI - Herald-Star community editor ( , The Herald-Star

I admit that I felt a little pang of guilt at first.

I didn't put up much of a fight with the Christmas wreath I had hung on the inside of the storm door with one of those suction cup things that refused to suction.

After about the ninth or 10th time that I picked it up off the floor, I said, OK. I accept that you don't want to be part of the Kiaski reindeer games this holiday so it's back into the storage box for you, you circular green thing with the big red bow. You Frisbee wannabe.

Ho. Ho. Ho.

I felt a little guilty, yes, but I got over it.

I also felt a slight sensation of something maybe not so initially holiday warm and fuzzy when I didn't even bother to take the mouse calendar out of its bag, the one that always officially signaled it was Christmas decorating time.

The cloth calendar hung in the kitchen all the years the kids were small - a calendar with this little Christmas mouse that was to be moved dutifully through all the days of December in a countdown to the big Christmas Eve here comes Santa moment we've all been waiting for. It was great when it was up when the kids would take turns moving the mouse - or battling over whose turn it was - but it has run its course.

I felt a little pang of guilt, yes, but I got over it.

The whole Christmas decorating thing has toned down through the years from the days when I stuck a Santa Claus face or bells or reindeers or whatever on every bare space of wall there was.

And no shelf or table top or spot of floor was without jingle bell candy dishes or Christmas candles or holly and berries or pine cones or snowmen or "Merry Christmas" crafts in all their red, green and gold glittery glory.

We Kiaskis have changed.

We are the Griswolds gone retired, not that the outside of the house was ever lit up beyond the porch lights, but the inside, that was a different story. If the house could have uttered a few words, it would have cried, "Help me - she's decorating, and she won't stop!"

I felt a little bit guilty about the decorating transformation that's happened, but I got over it once I stepped back and admired with delight the Charlie Brown Christmas tree in all its starkness as a kitchen table centerpiece.

Now that's beautiful, I thought to myself. One red bulb. No lights to glow and go out. No tinsel to sweep.

So I've been a real conservative this year with interior Christmas decorating, reveling in the less-is-more philosophy.

Yes, the tree is up and lovely. Ditto for some random decorations here and there, but the bulk of much that was out and everywhere in years past stayed put, at least until daughter Sarah dropped in for a visit - a daughter just beginning the Christmas decoration collection process.

That's when I felt like an 11th-hour yard sale host who realizes that the half-off sale isn't eliminating the merchandise and that leaves you with two choices - haul away the stuff or stash it away.

A decorating newbie, daughter Sarah liked the give-it-to-me option.

I helped her fill her car with Christmas goodies.

I felt a little pang of guilt at first when she drove away.

But I got over it.

(Kiaski, a Steubenville resident, is a staff columnist and features writer for the Herald-Star and the Weirton Daily Times and community editor for the Herald-Star. She can be contacted at

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