Kathleen Norton

‘Tis the season for a tinsel fix

Posted on: December 3, 2010

You asked for it again, so here is “TINSEL ADDICT” – one man’s comical quest to overdose on silver.  And check out “Kathleen’s Shop” for  gifts to suit tinsel lovers, grandmothers and those bossy, older siblings.


One strand is never enough

Christmas is nearly here and with it comes the usual array of holiday horrors.

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.


4 Responses to "‘Tis the season for a tinsel fix"

Hilarious! I’ll bet everyone has a tinsel addict in their family.

It made me laugh. Period. And that’s good enough….especially around the holidays…

Is he old enough to remember the REAL tinsel – the heavy kind available about 50 years ago? We had an 18′ tree and hung lots and lots of tinsel (always saved each year of course)

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