the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Decking the dadgumm halls

Anyone who has listened to my podcast recently knows that since I moved into this house at the end of February I have been dreading the holiday season for a completely different reason than I normally dread it—yes, of course I dread it. Whose website do you think you’re reading? I hate Halloween, Christmas, fresh flowers, long walks on the beach, interesting conversation, and puppies. You know what else sucks? Sincere handwritten letters from someone you love. Like, just text me already.

You have no idea whether or not to take me seriously and that is such a meaningful place to be.

As my family helped me move my furniture into this house which has 75% less space than our previous home, I realized, oh shit. We have no place to put a Christmas tree. Literally, no where to put one. There isn’t even enough room for a table in the kitchen, so we eat at the countertop that separates the kitchen from the living room. Ideal? Not really, but so what. We eat together. Which reminds me: DUDE. My kids ate four boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios last week (hashtag not sponsored, hashtag you can’t find any Honey Nut Cheerios because my kids ate all the Honey Nut Cheerios). I came home from the grocery store on Sunday with four more boxes, just to make it though the week, and Leta goes, “This might get us through Tuesday.”

Back when we lived in The Horrible House, The House That Spelled Divorce for Jon and Heather Armstrong, The House That Cost More To Heat Every Month Than I Made In a Year At My First Full-Time Job, The WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU THINKING HEATHER House, I bought a small tree (fake and pre-lit of course, whose website do you think you’re reading?) to put in the main living room. Meaning, the living room that was not the cold, staged, unused living room that was bigger than the entire house I live in now. I put the tall Christmas tree in that room since its windows faced the street and people would be able to see the twinkling lights as they drove by. And they’d assume the woman living inside that home was joyous! and hopeful! instead of lost and confused and experiencing one whopping whopper of a mid-life crisis.

2010 and 2011 found Heather B. Armstrong asking herself, “But you’ve always eaten Thanksgiving dinner with a plastic fork. And your extended family doesn’t know how to conjugate verbs. And you like this about them. Why do you have a freestanding copper tub in your bathroom that can hold 70,000 gallons of water? What in the hell are you doing?

Sometimes, returning to your roots is the answer to some important questions in life. This was one of those questions.

I think I got real earnest just then. WHOA. I’ll stop that right now and get back to talking about hating small, adorable animals.

After the Thanksgiving holiday the idea of the Christmas tree dilemma hit me cold in the head like a horrible trauma that you’ve been able to ignore for half of your life and then ZOOP! One image or one conversation or one and two and three and four weeks of women coming forward with stories of sexual misconduct at the hands of their coworkers and employers send you right back to the moment when a British boss told you, the only woman in a room of 10 people on the first day of your job, that you look like a naughty school girl he’d like to spank. And waiting for one of those 10 people to say something, anything when instead they all laughed and and nodded in agreement.

Was that a manic rambling spiral into a not good place? I hope so.

My family had been in charge of unloading the moving truck and storing things in my garage, so I was incredibly surprised to find the smaller Christmas tree and all my Christmas decorations within two minutes of searching that space. And Saturday I dragged it all out, assessed the size of the tree and got the girls’ input as to where we should attempt to fit it. Its four-and-a-half feet tall, about three feet wide. We decided to move one of the seats that already occupies half of the living room to the right a few feet, and now our living room is super, super cramped cozy and uncomfortable welcoming.

And then I opened the three bins I have of ornaments and said to Marlo, “You go have yourself some fun.” That thing is now decked with a hodgepodge of very confusing ornaments and things Marlo found just lying around the house. We now have a Charlie Brown Christmas tree that the real Charlie Brown Christmas tree is looking at like:


Our tree is what would happen if the Charlie Brown Christmas tree snorted an entire 8 ball by itself.

The whole point of this post was to feature a Christmas song I found on spotify when I hooked my phone up to the speakers and said, “You guys are fine if we don’t listen to Christmas music while we do this since I hate Christmas music and am dead inside I have a great December playlist that I put together, right?” But Leta indicated that she would very much like to listen to Christmas music. Because she’s a monster.

I found a “radio” station of Christmas music on Spotify, and after forwarding through a few country artists (YUCK) and a couple of Bieber takes on some traditional songs, I stumbled onto this and learned that Kaskade has a whole Christmas album!

Kaskade is responsible for one of the best songs of 2013:

Also, if this isn’t already in your life, here you go. You probably shouldn’t have liquid in your mouth when you watch this. Also, warning: I almost broke a rib the first time I saw it. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays and Happy Hanukkah. Thank you, Kelly, for giving me this gift.

  • Miss lee

    2017/12/05 at 2:24 pm

    I like it. Marlo should do up the tree every year!

  • KathyB

    2017/12/05 at 3:50 pm

    Good job, Marlo! Small houses make for ruthless choices. It will feel roomier for at least five minutes after the tree is gone 🙂 I plan to unload half my ornaments on daughter if the house purchase goes through for them and they have lots of room. She is crafty and loves to decorate and all kinds of stuff she got from other parts of the gene pool than mine.

  • Shannon C.

    2017/12/05 at 4:50 pm

    I’m really loving that Kaskade Christmas album. Totally new to me so thanks muchly! And the tree looks great.

  • Shannon C.

    2017/12/05 at 4:50 pm

    I’m really loving that Kaskade Christmas album. Totally new to me so thanks muchly! And the tree looks great.

  • Leann

    2017/12/05 at 5:24 pm

    Also, was standing in line at Peet’s in Half Moon Bay, CA and saw the new TRAIN Christmas album. Awesomeness…..

  • Patricia H

    2017/12/05 at 5:57 pm

    Our Christmas tree has spent the season on the front porch for the past 15 years. We put lights and (cheap, unbreakable) decorations on it. This tradition started because the dog peed on the tree in the living room. You can’t really blame him, it looked like all the trees he peed on at the park. He was a great dog and fully housebroken, otherwise. Now the dog is passed on but there really is no room in the house for a tree.
    BTW, Heather, I was one of the winners in the Canidae/Coco’s birthday giveaway. The dog loved the treats and I shared some the canned food with my sisters dog who really liked it. My nieces fought over the “all my shirts are covered in pet hair” tshirt. I just wanted to say thanks again.

  • L - Mama(e) in Translation

    2017/12/05 at 10:40 pm

    Thanks as always for the music recommendations! And the super funny & well written post. Wow,I had no idea that one of America’s best DJ’s is a member of the LDS church! Does that make them or him cool?

  • Erin Reece

    2017/12/06 at 11:44 am

    I loved this post. I wasn’t going to comment, but then thought well hell, I’m thinking something nice so I should say it! The earnestness, the spiral, and the list of things we’re supposed to like but actually suck. All of it yes. Glad you ladies were able to squeeze a tree into your cozy living room! <3

  • KristenfromMA

    2017/12/06 at 11:55 am

    That is A+ gif usage.

  • Kelly B

    2017/12/06 at 4:59 pm

    Awesome decorating job.

  • Carla DeLauder

    2017/12/07 at 12:34 am

    1,200 square feet is cavernous to me. 450 square feet would be awesome, but I’ve been very cozy in just 250 square feet. One room well designed, wood heat, and a loft for sleeping.

  • EMH

    2017/12/07 at 11:49 am

    This really made me laugh. Thanks. Dogs are way better than Christmas, anyway…

  • Jennifer

    2017/12/08 at 10:21 am

    My husband and I live in a tiny 450sq ft apartment with two cats, and I also put our tree up on the front porch. Pre-lit, with some unbreakable ornaments (cheap as well), and it gives me a bit of Christmas cheer every time I pull up in the driveway.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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