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Posted: December 7, 2011 12:00 a.m.

Decorating and the kitschy kitchen

Submitted photo/

Every morning in December, I enjoy a laugh as I look out my front window and see our eight-foot-tall inflatable Santa flattened on the ground. It’s just so funny to see the jolly old man face-planted in the dirt, quite realistically reflecting the way I feel at the end of every December day — totally, utterly deflated. 

All this merry-making is exhausting, don’t you know?

Decorating my yard with an assortment of giant inflatable Christmas characters isn’t quite my first choice in holiday décor. If I had it my way, the house would be elegantly trimmed in white lights, draped in real evergreen garlands entwined with yards of lustrous ribbon, accented with oversized, antiqued ornaments. My front porch would feature topiaries in urns, with sparkly baubles on their branches; my front door’s wreath would project an equally beautiful grace.

But a couple of years ago, my father-in-law gave us several blow-up lawn characters, and my children love them. They simply adore them. So how can I say “no” to their annual pleas to blow them up? Zach and Eli engage in great debate every year over which ones we’ll display — because even though I can’t say “no,” I can’t bring myself to allow all of them to appear at once. 

This year, Santa, Snoopy, and a snowman snow globe won. I guess they are kind of cute, in a kitschy sort of way.

Of course, it’s rather hypocritical of me to call those lawn ornaments kitschy after doing what I did to my outside refrigerator. Yes, like all proper middle-class Southerners, we have an outside fridge parked on our carport. Most call it the beer fridge, and ours has occasionally hosted an adult beverage or two. This extra refrigerator came with the house, and the main reason we kept it is that I wanted the freezer space for stocking up on groceries at case lot sales at the Fort Gillem commissary. 

But now the commissary is closed, and I can’t afford to stock up anyway, so except for when we fill it with leftovers at the holidays, our “beer fridge” usually sits empty. 

Enter Pinterest.com, also known as “Crack for Crafters.” I would say go there at once, request an invitation to join, and dive right in. But for anyone with even one creative gene, Pinterest proves highly addictive. I’ve already led too many friends astray down that burlap-strewn, glitter-sprinkled, creatively destructive path. Perhaps someone will start a 12-step group for us soon.

When I saw the refrigerator snowman on Pinterest, I just had to make one for myself — immediately, if not sooner. I originally planned to decorate the fridge in my kitchen, but then I recalled the wisdom of choosing my battles as a mother. It’s hard enough to keep the toddler-boy away from the Christmas tree; I knew Jonah would dismantle my snowman daily if he had easy access to it. 

Anyhow, even the most craft-impaired can manage this project. Simply cut the snowman’s features from colored cardstock and apply them with masking tape. The whole thing takes about 30 minutes. You could decorate any solid white door in this manner for a quick, festive accent. I even saw someone make smaller snowman features and apply them to alternating white kitchen cabinet doors — not that I would have the time or patience for that.

So if, like many of us with kids at home, you find your Christmas décor trending more towards kitschy than elegant, maybe add a Frosty the Fridge to your home this December. He coordinates ever so well with an eight-foot Santa and friends. 

And speaking of friends, while I might sometimes yearn for a more elegant holiday decorating scheme, our crazy, colorful décor always makes people smile. And even I can admit that smiles and laughter are worth much more than quiet nods of stylish approval.

Kari may be reached at kari@kariapted.com

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