Tube Talk: TV provides seasonal ideas to prep the halls

I usually wait until December to put up Christmas decorations, but our post-Thanksgiving warm spell inspired me to re-paint my window boxes and fill them with evergreen boughs snipped right from the shrubs. Before you think how Martha Stewart that is, the evergreens were extremely overgrown, which is why my window boxes overflow-eth this year. I’m surprised I had enough lights to weave through the boughs!

My family goes sort of crazy with Christmas decorations. It’s not our fault, though. Apparently, it’s genetic.

Family legend has it that Grandpa Bussey—who died long before my siblings and I were born—was the original Christmas nut in the family tree. I remember Grandma telling me how one year, when money was tight, she was outraged that Grandpa spent $35 on an electric tree stand with poinsettia-shaped lights (I still have it, but it no longer works). The kicker? The stand only holds about 2 cups of water, so it’s not even practical.

I also have a large wooden Santa cutout Grandpa Bussey made. Santa’s too special to be tucked away in the garage or basement, so he stands in the basement stairwell year ’round, waving each time I come up the stairs. I also have a miniature log fence Grandpa made from tree branches, painstakingly collected from their yard (they all had to be exactly the same diameter). Most of the “snow” Grandpa dusted on the fence rails has long worn off, but his fence circles my tree every year.

Even with so many one-of-a-kind decorations (did I mention the ceramic choir kids my mom’s cousin made to look just like my sister, brother and me?), I’m always looking for new things to add to my increasingly eclectic mix of Christmas decorations, so this time of year, you can catch me watching HGTV and the Food Network more often than usual. Several HGTV series—like Decorating Cents and Devine Design—have holiday episodes, and most Food Network shows will include a special holiday themes or menus throughout December.

If you happen to get Fine Living or the DIY Network (sister networks to HGTV and Food), you can watch even more shows and specials filled with seasonal ideas. Almost any time you tune in to any of these channels in December, you’re bound to find something seasonal.

Even if you don’t have cable, the networks’ Web sites are full of craft projects, recipes, decorating hints and tips for planning perfect parties. has an entire “Craftnanza” section (complete with a sweepstakes), has more recipes than you’ll ever cook, has decorating ideas, while has gift-giving and entertaining tips.

After watching Food Network’s “12 Days of Cookies” TV specials the past couple of years, I finally subscribed to their free e-newsletter, so I might be able to make some of the cookies before Christmas this year.

I’ve never really thought of it before, but maybe some of the Christmas decorations and ornaments I’ve made will mean as much to future generations as those choir kids and Grandpa Bussey’s Santa and log fence mean to me.

Paula Hendrickson is a regular contributor to Emmy magazine and Variety, and has been published in numerous national publications including American Bungalow, SatelliteORBIT and TVGuide.

From the Dec. 13-19, 2006, issue

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