We use LED lights, and thus worry a lot less about our house going up in flames. Kaja's mother, who is loath to throw anything out, is determined to bequeath us a cartload of ancient lights. I have seen these things, with their gigantic, burning hot, buzzing bulbs, strung together in clusters of individual wires (which have slightly sticky insulation), and I cheerfully tell her that of course we'll take them! Unfortunately she has twigged to the fact that whenever she does give them to me, I immediately stuff them into the garbage before they spontaneously explode, so she's holding onto them, possibly under the mistaken impression that if she does so until she dies, they will be magically transformed in heirlooms, which no sane person would ever throw out. Dare to dream, Ma'am.
We have two boxes or ornaments. One is full of ornaments made of metal, cloth, or plastic. For the first few years of the Experiments existence, these were the only ornaments that we used, in case the Experiments became so excited at the whole Christmas thing that they tried to climb the tree, or sleep under it, or try to eat the branches. None of this ever happened, and I suspect that my expectations were shaped by the various brain–damaged cats I have owned over the years, who have done all of these things, and more. These days, they get hung closer to the ground, and if the dog eats them, we'll cope.
The other box contains the Good ornaments. We've collected them over the last twenty years, and while some are fancy, German glass ornaments, most of them have what people in the Insurance Industry call "Sentimental Value". Kaja and I try to find a new addition to this part of the collection every year (with mixed success). Our primary guideline is that, ideally, it should have absolutely nothing to do with Christmas. We formulated this after finding a jaunty manta–ray wearing a bow tie, and it's gone on from there. These are the ornaments that get hung near the top of the tree, where our friends can marvel at them during slow parties.
This is also the time of year where we haul out the decorations. Some of these are indeed heirlooms, and some of them can be mighty odd. My particular favorite is a pair of Santas screaming at each other that my mother passed down to me. Oh, she didn't die or anything, I think she was just glad to get them out of the house. Apparently in the 50's, there was a fad for humorous ceramics, and anyone who trawls through junk shops of a certain vintage has seen their share of them. But these guys are weird even by the standards of the day. I was fascinated by them as a kid, and always wondered what it was they were argueing about. I suppose I'll never know.
In New Product news, we received a package from the effervescent ladies at Z.O.M.G. Smells! (http://www.zomgsmellsshop.com/) who are the ones who put together the Girl Genius perfume line (yes, you can also buy these from the folks at TopatoCo (http://www.topatoco.com/merchant.mvc?S