Monday, 10 December 2018

Poetry Monday: Decorating For The Holidays

It's Poetry Monday AGAIN ALREADY . . . and this week's topic is "decorating for the holidays."

Join Diane and me (Delores is on temporary hiatus) as we drag memories and dreams out of the closets and basements of our brains, rummage noisily through them, and create a thing of beauty from the whole dusty mess.

You are welcome to leave a poem (yours, or one you've read and liked) in the comments on either of our blogs, or on your own blog; if you do the second, please leave a comment so we can come along and applaud your creation. Use the topic or not; just have fun.


I don't do a lot of decorating for the holidays, now that our kids are grown and we rarely have company. Therefore, this week's poem veered off the topic a wee bit. In fact, you might say it's more about un-decorating than decorating.

In the thirty-eight Christmases that have passed since my husband and I were married, we have always had at least one cat in the household. Most of them have been fairly well-mannered.

But there was one interesting Christmas that we had a too large tree and a too small tree stand and an athletic cat who tackled the tree three times . . .

. . . three times of hearing swooooooosh-crashhhhhh-tinkle-slosh as the tree fell over, another ornament smashed to bits, and the water in the stand escaped and ran over the floor . . .

That was the same Christmas I had a chest infection and wanted to lie on the couch twenty-three hours a day. And it was also the Christmas our kids were seven and ten, which I have found to be a very excitable age range when it comes to Christmassy things.

Ah, but if everything went as planned, how would we have any fun?


Christmas With B.T.K.

That year is etched
In my mind's eye
The year the tree
Aspired to fly
Three times it fell
With wingless grace
As Big Tan Kitty
Trashed the place
Three times he tried
Its limbs to scale
Three times we saw
A major Fail
In spite of the
Resulting mess
His kitty swagger
Claimed Success

Big Tan Kitty, in later years. Slightly more sedate.


How do you decorate for the holidays? Do you have to take pets into consideration?

Wishing you a good week, my people :)

Update:  Next week's topic is "holiday romance" . . .


  1. Our decoration has been minimalist for a number of years. We have never had a cat climb the tree, but have OFTEN had cat assistance in wrapping gifts. And one cat (who is no longer with us) was an extremely skilled unwrapper of gifts as well.
    Love your poem, and Big Tan Kitty is beautiful. Which he no doubt knew.

    1. Oh, yes, the kitties and paper/ribbon . . . they are like the two sides of velcro, stuck fast together - ha ha

      He was a big and beautiful cat with a strong personality. He would have admired you for admiring him :)

  2. PS: On the cats and Christmas front I have to include Mud (a brown tabby named because she defiled my washing three consecutive times). Christmas lunch was on the table. Both himself and I were out of the room getting one more forgotten item. We returned to find Mud sitting on himself's plate, on his piece of roast pork. And she was certainly not surrendering it without a fight.

    1. OH NO!! Oh dear :) Did himself go vegetarian that year? :D

      I love the name Mud (although not loving the reason she acquired it).

  3. I no longer decorate, there's no space here to put a tree where the cat can't get to it. I will put a couple of tiny artificial trees in high places, but Lola has claimed the one windowsill that faces out, so there be no tiny tree there this year.

    1. Well, after all, Lola needs that windowsill!

  4. We don't generally do holiday decorating either, but there's a large-ish poinsettia on the porch that I mistakenly first assumed was some sort of floral peace offering from John to his girlfriend, but turned out to be a holiday decoration after all.
    Ah, that's probably just as well, I guess, there doesn't seem to be much peace to be had with that one.
    The cat hasn't tried to murder it yet, but give him time. I guess I should try to discourage such behavior, as poinsettias are mildly toxic to cats, but I doubt he'll actually eat any of it.
    Briana hung a green Christmas tree ornament in the pear tree in the back yard that I mistook for a pear a few times, but now that all of the leaves have fallen off, looks like an ornament again.
    But I think that's about it for us... No, wait a minute, Jackie put four... I don't know what to call them? They're about a foot and a half tall, a little thicker than a broom handle, and are striped red, white, and silver like a barber pole, with white fur at the top and bottom of the striped part, and a little bright green elf cap on top.
    They look quite strange and simultaneously Christmas-y, and there are four of the in the flower bed by the fence.

    -Doug in Oakland

    1. That's a rather eclectic batch of decorations! The barber poles with fur and elf caps sound fun :)

  5. Haha I love it! I must admit I can't motivate myself to decorate the house this year. We aren't entertaining. My older daughter is back from Uni now but doesn't seem to really care if the house is decorated or not, so I'm wondering why I bother? I'll probably just do the Christmas tree.

    1. I think for a lot of folks the decorating is mostly for their kids or parties. Not everyone, but a lot. It was our kids who prodded me into doing it here. A Christmas tree seems to be the main thing for us too; no matter how much we scale back I think we'll have a tree for a long time yet.

  6. Hello Jenny, I lked your poem and although we've never had a cat I can relate to it with our second dog, William. He was only a young pup when we got him in the November and he had the tree down three or four times breaking ornaments and causing mayhem. Soft memories now as he is long since gone, bless him. Our daughter does have a cat, Gary. She's female but the previous owners (she's a rescue) called her Gary for some bizarre reason. Anyway I have pictures of her when she used to climb inside the Christmas tree, her little head peeking out, but she never caused any damage. A lovely cat, very affectionate.

    My poem this week isn't one of mine, I don't know where I found it nor do I know who wrote it, but I'm offering it anyway. Not really decorations, but an essential at Christmas time for children.

    Christmas Stocking

    Christmas Eve all dark and dreary
    Time to go to bed,
    I must hang my little stocking
    Just above my head.
    Through the door or down the chimney
    In the candlelight,
    Santa Claus, the Christmas Fairy
    Means to come tonight.
    He is very old and weary,
    With a bended back,
    And a lot of lovely presents
    In his great big sack.
    Please, I want a new wax dolly,
    Please, I want a whip,
    Please, I want a railway engine
    And a sailing ship.
    Santa Claus, you'll find my playbox
    Close beside the wall,
    Just in case my little stocking
    Is a bit too small.

    Have fun with your preparations Jenny, but take care (thinking of those basement steps, lol). See you next week.

    1. Oh, I love that ending! What a sweet poem, Joan. Thanks for bringing it to us.

      Puppies and decorations are another dangerous mix - ha ha I rather like the name Gary for a female cat!

    2. Adorable, Joan! Now I want a cat named Gary.

    3. You'd think we would learn our lesson after one, two, three times, but no because our daughter was only three at the time and loved that decorated tree and cried afer the first two times, we had to do it the fourth time just for her. We had the tree sat on a cabinet and he could only have got to it by going sideways on from a chair. Great fun, not, when I had to assemble it all again.

  7. Your kitty certainly caused some excitement (and funny memories). The third bang must have knocked some sense into him/her.

    I still decorate as my west coast family comes east for the holidays. My granddaughters only know of Christmas in Mamama’s house. I am truly blessed, but often tired, but a good kind of tired.

    Over my years with cats, only one was a Christmas tree climber. The rest have been content with just laying under the tree and puking up hairballs (or whatever) on the tree skirt. Daisy, though, does look at it with lots of interest and I don’t completely trust her so plastic balls have replaced many of my beloved glass ornaments. It is better to be prepared.

    1. We do seem to try harder when there are children involved, don't we? You're wise to be proactive and prevent destruction of your glass ornaments.

  8. Since our kids left decorating has deteriorated to almost nothing. The tree is on the garage sale pile.

    1. Some young family will be happy to get your tree, and meanwhile you don't have so much work to celebrate the season!

  9. We fostered kids for a number of years. Never had a cat climb the tree, but one of our little girls did. Three times. And ate all the candycanes. And all the dough art. It was a memorable year!

  10. When I initially commented I clicked the "Notify me when new comments are added" checkbox
    and now each time a comment is added I get several e-mails
    with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service?

    1. I believe you have to remove yourself (that is, I cannot do it for you). Give this a try: click on "subscribe to comments" again and see if an "unsubscribe" button pops up. If that doesn't work, leave another comment and I'll try to figure out something else.

  11. How can a cat be in two places at once. He actually lived with me and his name was BoomBoom, for the noise of his feet on the floor. Where did he sleep? Anywhere he wanted.

  12. "...his kitty swagger claimed success"! You made me LOL! It's that quintessential feline expression as they stroll away from the scene of the incident: "I meant to do that!" :-)

  13. I used to go all out with decorating when the kids were very young. As they got older, it became less and less. But since they've moved out on their own, it's been a real effort. We put up a Christmas tree eventually and a few decorations around the kitchen. This year we haven't started yet and we're almost mid month. It's not that I don't feel the spirit of the holiday, I do, but the whole process just seems so tiring.

    1. I hear you. And then after you've put it all up, you get to take it all back down . . . lol

  14. A tree-climbing cat
    How about that
    Rearranging decorations
    Causing such frustrations
    I've haven't put my tree up yet
    I'm almost set
    Like your poetry
    That's plain to see
    Done some crazy rhymes
    From time to time
    On my blog
    Either me
    Or that certain dog
    She did pawetry
    So easily.

    Thank you for your post, you cordial host.

    Gary, Gary, nary contrary...

    1. Penny's (and your) pawetry always hit the spot, Gary . . . thank you for this one, my friend. Take care.

  15. I would like decorating if the stuff didnt have to be put away ! I have avoided it for years now and my daughters do it...but they enjoy it so it's not work to them. And when i say they decorate, it's a little tree. That's it.

    Also, it doesn't seem to matter how much I don't like clutter I still have a cluttered house and decorations get a bit lost in the busyness of the view...also, we have a gorgeous boy who likes to take precious finds to his bed.

    yea ok, thats a lot of excuses! I really admire people who do beautiful decorations.

    Big Tan Kitty is clearly king of all he surveys ....and rightfully so

    1. I hear you. I can't believe there was a time when I put away the usual ornaments, cleaned all the surfaces, then put out Christmas stuff. And did it all in reverse a few weeks later. Now we don't even have ornaments out at any time of the year, just stacks of books everywhere.

      At least the cats don't take stuff to bed . . . but I love that Harry does! Funny boy :)

  16. My husband’s grandparents’s cat climbed their tree all the time and the blinds on the livingroom window too. She cut off her wishers falling down the blinds!

    1. Wow - who'd have thought blinds could do that? Poor kitty!

  17. Ahhh. I loved hearing about the big tan kitty. I really enjoyed this one, jenny_o.

  18. Dear Jenny_o, for about 35 years, I went out each November with friends and cut down a 9-foot tree for my living room. (The house was built in 1870 and had 11-foot ceilings.) It would take me three or four days to decorate the tree with about 750 lights and 600 ornaments.

    During that time, the cats with whom I lived would get in all the boxes, demolish the tissue paper that some of the oldest ornaments (ones from my parents that they'd had in 1928) were wrapped in, and try to climb the tree trunk. Every new cat brought into my home did that.

    Now, with age, I have only a 3-foot artificial tree and the three cats with whom I live nudge it off the table often throughout the holidays. They don't break any ornaments because all I use now are wooden and plastic. but oh, Ellie, Maggie, and Matthew make me laugh! Peace.

    1. Yes! To the cats, a Christmas tree is just a huge treat given to them by their person or people, isn't it? And if we set it up to allow for non-destructive interaction, it is highly entertaining :) Peace, Dee.

  19. Cats should always be consulted for Xmas decor. It's a given.

    1. And if we don't consult, they give their opinions anyway :D

  20. Throwing Lesson 2002

    The ornaments are smooth and densely round
    and feel familiar in his pudgy hand. It’s a subtle difference
    for a little boy in diapers. And they leave the tree
    with such a pleasing bounce and tinkle.
    How hard to listen! they hang there like a bad curve ball,
    begging bats. We talk him down, pry his fingers open,
    it does no good. The game is in his blood.
    Kim makes a good grab on a slider,
    low and outside; a hand-painted Santa
    from our crafting days. He laughs.
    A bright red shiny one survives
    the chunk-and-bounce against a chair leg.
    We admonish.
    He laughs, pops his mitt with throwing hand,
    and finally gets ahold of one, long-bombs it to the gap,
    grenades the Christmas Village
    with the hand-blown Mt. St. Helens ash-globe,
    long-off gift from a long-dead aunt--
    now recycled into greenblack smithereens.
    In the silence Great-aunt Peggy cheers him
    from the upper deck.
    I can hear her holler, “Hit the cutoff man, ya rookie!”

    1. Hello, ice9, and thank you for this excellent contribution!


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