It’s December in the South, and since I’m a Southern lady, I headed over to Ace Hardware to buy the required cans of metallic spray paint. Judging by what was left on the shelves, which wasn’t much, it seems gold is making a comeback, although silver is still ahead by a spritz or two. It was evident we have a few wild women living amongst us because copper has also been a brisk seller. (You know who you are).
This time of year, if you listen closely, you’ll hear the sounds of the season. Jingle bells, holiday music, and the “SPISHSHSHSH” sound coming from the backyards of Christmas enthusiasts, preparing their homes for the one time of year where “over the top” is accepted by all.
It starts just after Thanksgiving, with ladies, after having clear-cut their own yards, can be seen tip-toing through the neighbor’s yards, with clippers in one hand and a basket in the other for just a few more twisty vines or some of those red holly berries, which of course look much better once we’ve painted them silver. We know how to keep our pearls in place while fighting the friskiest of squirrels for acorns, pecans and pinecones.
I can clearly remember having my husband stop the car on the way home from church one Sunday as I ran through the front yard of the old Marietta High School where I clipped a few magnolia branches (I always travel with clippers in the glove box – just in case) and ran back to the car before anyone from the PTA spotted me. I should have relaxed, because I later discovered the PTA Moms and the Principal herself had already been there and beat me to the good stuff.
For a few years, I decided to go with a “natural” scheme and used regular old twigs and magnolia leaves around the mantel and on top of the sideboard, but I chalk that phase up to hormones, and thankfully, with the help of a good doctor and a glass of eggnog, reclaimed my sparkle once again.
One of the reasons Belles love to cover everything in sight with shimmering brilliance may be due to the fact that outdoors, it can often be a balmy 72 degrees, but indoors, we can create our own fantasy wonderland. It’s an instant North Pole wonderland where Frosty the Snowman would feel comfortable.
In addition to glitter and glitz, all good Belles love to be on committees, and for the past few years, I’ve had the cream of the crop assignment – the Altar Guild, which gets to decorate the entire church for Christmas. Hello 15 foot tall Christmas tree! It’s a much better gig than the year I was assigned to scrape gum off the bottom of the pews. (They suspected the gum was from my children, but teeth marks proved otherwise).
Once the committee ladies had finished pouring glitter on every surface and securing bows to everything that didn’t move, we stood back and agreed that fellow Belle, Dolly Parton, in all her shimmer and glimmer would feel welcome in our glistening sanctuary. Her motto of “more is more” fits right in with celebrating the season. It’s all about the baby Jesus, and you know how babies love sparkly things. What’s the first gift given to the Holy babe? If you said “gold,” you get a star – a big, shiny gold star, for that matter.
Everyone finds the meaning of Christmas in different things, and Southern ladies know there can be deep, beautiful meaning in a simple can of metallic Krylon.
This article first appeared in my column,Â “Southern with a Gulf Coast Accent” which can be found in these fine newspapers: The Courier, The Foley Onlooker, The Islander, The Baldwin Times, The Independent, and The Sumter Item in South Carolina.
haha, love love spray paint! And as I was spraying a champagne bottle gold the other day on a whim, I thought, how awful to live in all that cold and snow and not be able to go out and spray paint something!
I bet your church is gorgeous!
A gold champagne bottle? I’m ashamed I didn’t think of it first!
Ha, earlier today I was clipping magnolia branches from my neighbor’s tree when she waltzed out to walk the dog. Thankfully, I’d had permission a while back! And it was a great chance to catch up on the neighborhood news. I didn’t take as much time as you, though…no spray paint. I raced home and stuck the branches in urns by the front door. Until I read this, I was feeling so proud of my instant décor! 🙂
I love how you explored the psychology behind WHY Southern women cover everything in shiny spray paint around the holidays. You hit the nail on the head! It is to create our own Winter Wonderland and still be able to brag that we are wearing shorts on Christmas Day. Could it also be the nostalgia of the flocked Christmas tree craze of the 60s? I remember my mother saving money by spraying canned “snow” on our tree one year.
I feel so deep and philosophical now!
I once befriended an elderly neighbor specifically because his yard had the biggest holly tree in the ‘hood. I’m not proud of it, but there you go…
Confession is the first step to decorating redemption.
One year when I was living in PA I sprayed a bunch of pinecones gold to put in a garland. The pinecones here in AL are magnificent and I steal one or two if they’re close enough to the curb or on public property. I’d probably need a few cans of spray paint to cover those though.
There are so any pinecones around here, usually people are glad to see someone in their yard picking them up. At least, that’s what I always tell myself.
Yes ma’am, I love my spray can but this year it was white. Everything in sight, tips of old garland and a basket painted white to hold creamy poinsettias on the fireplace. I do love sparkle and it shows here. I just bet your church is breathtakingly beautiful for Chrismtas. Make a photo to share.
Enjoy the season dear girl………..
I love an all white and silvery look! Happy Christmas to you!