children, Christmas, decorations, House, mother, Mrs Obama, President Bush, samoa, White House

I went to the White House. And I wasn’t speechless with awe.

 #2 in the 12 Days of Christmas Traditions – The Christmas Decor of Doom and Destruction.
        “Mothers are the makers of Christmas magic and memories.” This is my mother’s Christmas philosophy. This is what drives her every year to transform our house into a veritable Christmas wonderland. Nobody tops my mother’s Christmas creativity. Nobody. I exaggerate you not. When I was 17yrs old, my family was invited to the White House to meet then US President Bush and have morning tea. It was December and the most famous white house in the world had been decked in Christmas splendor from top to toe by the finest interior designers that America had to offer. Were me and my siblings awed? No. Why? Because Mrs Bush’s house looked just like ours. ( Ok, so her house was bigger. And whiter. But otherwise, same level of Christmas panache.)  That’s how amazing my mother’s decor is. My mother starts styling our house in early December and she uses an assortment of native Samoa foliage combined with accessories from around the world to create a new Christmas Fantasy house every year.
        And we hated it. Why? Because unlike Mrs President Bush, our mother did not have an army of minions at her beck and call to style her house. No. Our mother had the housekeeper, the gardener and us. Transforming a house is exhausting work. We had to clean, chop fir trees, scavenge for shells, coconut shells and flowers. Clean some more. Put up decorations. Take them down and move them over two inches to the left because they weren’t ‘just right’. Then take them down again and move them over two inches to the left because they clashed with the angel that was 45 degrees over from it. And we had to do this all with a smile on our faces. Or else we got the Christmas lecture. “You lazy, ungrateful children never want to help me. Every year I work my fingers to the bone…Don’t you know that mother’s are the creators of Christmas magic? Do you think this magic just falls out of the sky?! You’re so useless, move away and let me do that…”
And then once the magic had all been successfully installed, we then had to tiptoe around it for the next 29 days and maintain its magicalness. ‘Don’t touch that. Don’t break that….you’re ruining all my hard work!”

Christmas Tradition Message There is a fine line between creating Christmas magic memories and instilling  a loathing for Christmas decor of doom and destruction. Try not to cross it. I love the beauty of a beautiful Christmas but I’m lazy content to have a tree covered in Little Daughter’s handmade (somewhat wonky) glitter cards and Sade’s origami creations (that are not color co-ordinated at all). We made a pine wreath to hang on the front door – it’s a little crooked but what the heck. And I got a box of empty wine and whiskey bottles from the Hot Man’s nightclub job that I did mean to stick taper candles in for a stunning centrepiece…but there they sit on my doorstep still. No doubt proclaiming to one and all that this is a house of Christmas drunks. But it’s okay. Because when I want to experience the Christmas Magic in all its wonder, I will just go home and visit my mother. Or it might be safer to stop by the White House – because I don’t think Mrs Obama yells at people “Don’t touch that! You’re ruining the Christmas magic, dammnit!”

            Is it the White House? No its Plantation House.

7 thoughts on “I went to the White House. And I wasn’t speechless with awe.”

  1. I LOVE this. I already knew you were awesome, but you just made me feel better for being a Christmas decorating failure…LOL We hung a wreathe, but we didn't even do a big tree this year because someone you know doesn't want to spend her days sweeping up broken ornaments, courteousy of two very curious toddlers. We'll have a small tree on the table, this year, and go see the one at Grandma and Grampa's….we'll try again next year…

  2. Hi Paige, Isnt it great that we can count on grandparents to provide some Christmas magical wonder?! I love to visit my parents house and sit and enjoy the beauty of it all before returning to the mess of my own. My mother never ceases to amaze me with her creativity every year. But yeah, Im not rushing to do the same thing.

  3. Your mother is so awesome. And I used to decorate the tree and the house exactly how I wanted it to. No where near the splendor that is Plantation House, but what I could do on a budget. But when my oldest daughter was old enough to ask to help me w/ the tree, I had to give up the control freak Christmas decor. And I'm less stressed, and happier to see how much fun they have working together to get the tree done. This year especially has been busy and all I have is a tree. I even forgot to put a wreath on our door. I totally slacked this year, but the kids could care less. And we live in the city. If the kids need some magic we drive on over to the streets w/ the most lights on their houses. lol

  4. lol – I'm enjoying your Christmas posts!! Your mother IS amazing!! (as are you 🙂 Congrats on another successful book launch Lani, I wish you and your family the best Christmas EVER EVER 🙂

  5. I tend to get a little stressed about decorating for the holidays. Everything needs to coordinate – um, up until Little Man wants to play with all of the sound producing gadgets (including gadgets that aren't wven supposed to be sound producing) and Big Dane eats decorations (at least 1 per day). I'm thinking of decorating the house with Xmas dog treats here and there so as not to lose valuable decorations 🙂 Fun post, Lani!

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