By Jaquelyn Muller, 16th December 2016

Take a Bow

Hooray for Christmas!

Hooray for Christmas!

Get your holly-wreath-tinsel-laden ass off the couch and get busy. It is officially the one time of the year where we all get to be a bit OTT and indulge our inner elf by festooning our houses, pets and street scapes.

Lucky for me I live in ‘Wisteria Lane’ or whatever that cute little street was in Leave it to Beaver (which I think was the same back lot at Universal Studios), anyway the point is I reside in a very leafy, polite suburban crescent. It is basically where all originality and rebellious youth goes to die (RIP 1990s). Conformity reigns and at no time is this more evident than at Christmas.

Four years ago the chairperson of our CHoC committee (Christmas, Halloween and other Celebrations), decided each house should tie a red ribbon around the trees that line our long winding avenue. We all had to put down our gin and tonics to golf clap such a wonderful community-minded idea. Surely it was then a matter of time before we could convince everyone to produce a street Christmas pantomime in order to outdo Finch Street (damn those show offs with their alternating red and green ribbon). It would motivate the residents in the lead up to our traditional street Christmas party, which usually ends in a mound of empty Sauvignon Blanc bottles, a village of Tupperware, white platters and salad servers being left out the front of number nine.

It was decided that we would put a ‘gentle’ suggestion at the bottom of the annual residents Christmas flyer.

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“We would like you to join us in tying a festive red bow around your nature strip tree from November 25. It is nylon net (tulle) red, 137cm wide, approximately 5 metres per tree required.”

What could possibly go wrong?

To my Virgo-induced horror I discovered that the probability of grown adults tying a competent bow was as unlikely as jumping the queue for a Birkin. There was also a rampant inability to distinguish between the colour red and CORAL! It is also not hot pink, ruby or magenta and don’t think recycling the pastel pink bow to announce to the world ‘It’s a girl’ is going to cut the mustard.

I was straight on to our CHoC chairperson. Thank heavens for caller ID because we could dispense with the pleasantries and launch pearls and all into a diatribe about the complete lack of respect for instructions – and why if for no other reason was YouTube invented but to teach you how to tie a freakin’ bow?

A bow requires a commitment to tie, re-tie and kwaff. It’s not like tying your shoelaces. It can take up to five minutes to tie an aesthetically pleasing bow. The length of the ribbon must also be directly in proportion to the girth and height of the tree. Are we reaching for the stars here people?

While we acknowledge that some individuals are either colour blind or simply clueless, instructions are there for the safety of residents and visitors. Could you imagine the damage caused by drivers distracted by a rogue ribbon?

Christmas Bow

I could not extract any sympathy out of The Gent (enter random cameo from hubby). He thinks I have an unrealistic expectation of people when it comes to Christmas decorations. Mind you he says this after mummifying himself in the garden lights while trying to string them up.

It was decided, to be fair, we would leave it a few days to see if our well-meaning neighbours would see the glaring inconsistencies and come to their senses. At future Christmas parties we could then fall about laughing recalling the year they all stuffed up the tree ribbon. Good times.

A week later, no one gave a crap.

There was only one thing to do.

As the self-appointed ribbon aficionados, madam chairperson and moi-self, armed with the correct bolt of red ribbon (that’s the fancy word for roll of material), scissors and tape measure, trawled up and down the street retying each bow and removing any illegal trimming. On a somewhat confusing side note we had passersby pulling over asking what political cause we were promoting? Umm.

We have done this every year since and while we are aware the neighbours purposely make an unsightly mess of their ribbons knowing the ribbon-tying committee of two will come cursing by to bring them all into uniformed perfection, it has become a lovely annual tradition that leaves our street looking festive, warm and primed for lots of community cheer.

And like a well-timed Monty Python sight gag we have the same lady drive by every year, as we wrangle branches and bunting wanting to know if we are protesting human rights abuses in China?

Do you seriously not own a calendar, love?

Happy holidays!

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