Honestly? I am the opposite of the author of this article. I think there are two types of people: those who notice the cleanliness of the carpet in a home, and those who do not. I am the former, the author is clearly the latter. I grew up in a beautiful, clean house filled with lovely things. Lots of them we weren't allowed to touch, or mess with, but it doesn't make me feel cold or empty inside at the memory. I loved being surrounded by all that loveliness. My mom's Christmas decorations could kick the ass of any Manhattan store window display any day of the week, and are decidedly less tacky. Martha Stewart works hard at the same sort of thing that comes easily to my mom. And I still love being surrounded by it. My mom's house at Christmas is beautiful and perfect. There's no place I'd rather be during the season than in her living room, sipping a cup of tea and looking at the lights on the living room tree.
Did I just say living room tree, you ask? Yes, I did. Does that mean...?? Yes. There is more than one tree. There is also the family room tree. The origin of the two-tree scenario has its roots with our old house, the house I mostly grew up in when we moved to Colorado in 1979. The family room was not situated well to accommodate a Christmas tree, because of a wall of built-in bookcases that got a lot of use. The living room was filled with a lot of furniture and was kind of formal, so it was hard to imagine doing Christmas morning in there. So my parents decided to place the tree in the hallway between the two rooms. It was more a doorway-type opening than a hallway -- the floor plan of the house worked quite well for this. My mom being who she is felt that the living room side of the tree should be decorated to complement the living room decor, and the family room side decorated to complement the family room. Thus began her years of collecting ornaments for each side -- pinks and creams and whites and sparkles for the living room side, primary colors and more "fun" ornaments for the family room side.
When my parents moved to their new house, she realized she could actually just have two trees, since the living room is 6 miles away from the family room, give or take a few miles. (We are prone to making wisecracks about how much larger the new house is than the house we all grew up in, since when they moved there, all three of us girls were grown and moved on. Some of us have since made the occasional stopover for a month or three or even six, but basically, my parents live there alone.) So she set about collecting enough ornaments for two entire trees, rather than enough ornaments to fit on two sides of one tree. The family room tree is brightly colored and still sort of the "fun" tree, while the living room tree is more fancy looking, and much taller. I love both trees.
Anyway, I don't get a complex about the state of my house because of the impending holidays. Part of it is that I always have a complex about the state of my house because I live with two total slobs, and the other part is that I just do what I can do, and that's good enough. I did have an issue with my tree the first day we got it up, after Daniel had started the trimming and then lost interest. I wasn't in the mood to finish the job until several days later, and so the tree looked sort of half-assed and sad for those several days. But then as soon as I finished, the tree looked awesome and I took 50 pictures of it to share on Facebook.
And the kind of house I look forward to visiting during the holidays is a house like my mom's. Pretty and clean and free of pet dander... because there are no pets. Enough seating for everyone, and a large family room for the entire family to spread out in as we dig into our Christmas stockings and exchange gifts with each other. It's just the way I am.