Kathleen Norton

Tinsel Addict: One man’s story

Posted on: January 26, 2010

One strand is never enough.

Christmas is long over, but some holiday horrors never go away. Take tinsel. It shows up every year and sticks around until it makes you scream.

Sort of like relatives. Only shinier.

Yet in reality, tinsel is no laughing matter. Take it from me. My husband is a recovering tinsel addict and our whole family suffers from PTSD – Post Tinsel Stress Disorder.

Me, the kids, the dog, Oh wait, I forgot. We don’t have a dog. See? You see what PTSD does to you?

Our story is like so many others.

Boy meets girl. Boy loves girl. But mostly, boy loves a Christmas tree with so much tinsel it can be seen from outer space.

Girl thinks boy will easily change. Girl is off her rocker.

It’s an all too-familiar saga. Sure, there were plenty of warning signs. But I didn’t want to see them.

He’d binge in the tree trimming aisle then lie: “I only bought one box, I swear!’’ His decorating benders could make an elegant blue spruce shimmer like a tacky, Las Vegas chorus line.

And if people made comments, I made excuses. “Doesn’t a hard-working man deserve to fling a little tinsel now and then?’’ I’d sniff.

I was an enabler with a capital “E.’’

One Christmas, he hit bottom. He said he’d been “working late’’ but a few strands were stuck to his collar. It turned out he’d been staring for so long at the tree in the holiday display at the mall that Santa’s elves had gotten suspicious and run him off.

I was so ashamed. It was time for a tinsel intervention.

“Tinsel has ruined our lives! It’s ruined our vacuums!’’ I cried. “And there’s so much stuck to our manger that Baby Jesus looks like Liberace!’’

He turned white as a can of spray-on-snow and hung his head. “I’m ready to stop,’’ he said.

That was the turning point. But it has not been easy.

Say “Tinsel Town’’ and he breaks into a cold sweat. And holidays are the hardest. Well-meaning friends look at our plain tree and whisper, “Surely, one strand can’t hurt him?’’

They don’t understand. With tinsel addicts, it’s never just one strand.

If you ask him today how he’s managed, he credits our love and the Tinsel Serenity Prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to avoid tinsel, the courage to use only garland, and the wisdom to know the difference.’’

Yes, the words crack me up, too. But I don’t dare laugh because somehow, it works. He’s still on the tinsel wagon. The vacuum runs great.

And Baby Jesus no longer glitters like a lounge lizard.


12 Responses to "Tinsel Addict: One man’s story"

Funny stuff.

Thanks, Mike. Stay tuned…

Had a good laugh! I myself am a recovering tinsel addict. Now that I am a chocolate addict, my tree has all chocolate ornaments…….but no tinsel!

Sounds much more delicious than tinsel….

All I can say is, every year my husband and kids bring it up and Iknow better, one tinsel strand is too many, a thousand are never enough. . . so just for today, no tinsel.

I remember “tinsel wars” from my folks. My mother would put ’em on one at a time, my father in fistfulls….hang in there!

Diane: I thought it was a guy thing….but read comments from Marieta and Eleanor.

Stay tuned for Tinsel, The Sequel

It feels like we’re playing Super Password with the tags on this entry:

Christmas, husband, Liberace, tinsel … what is the McNulty house? Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding.

Good luck. We’ll be reading.

Hoping to grab Liberace fans, any fans!

Liberace was misunderstood.
Or was that Miss Understood?
Where’s my candelabra…

To quote a certain someone…I’ll do the jokes here.

I love the baby Jesus looking like Liberace. This story certainly strickes a nerve as tinsel and Easter basket grass both have been banned from our home after one of the cats ate the grass (we didnt know) and that evening he was literally running from wall to wall — would not stop. When he was gasping for air off we went to the emergency vet clinic. Turned out the grass had wrapped itself around his colon. Emergency surgery and $900 later…………all was well. But we inspect all Easter paraphanelia before it enters our house at the door as well as tinsel.
P.S. The same cat will be 20 years old September 1st, so you could say we got our moneys worth.

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