Q: Please help us with a big argument. We recently got married, and this is our first Christmas tree together. My husband thinks he knows how to put lights on a Christmas tree, but he does it all wrong. My mom spent a lot of time to hide all the strings and made sure the lights were evenly distributed. My husband just wraps the tree with lights and you end up just seeing three stripes of lights. He thinks that's good enough because that's how they did it in his family. Who's right?
A: Congratulations on sharing your first Christmas together. The holidays are a magical time, but sometimes blending our childhood traditions into a new household can be hard. Perhaps you care too much about how everything looks, including the Christmas tree. Are you truly arguing about the tree, or have you two clashed about other decor-related things? That wouldn't be uncommon.
Be patient with each other, and look for ways to compromise. The tree belongs to both of you, so each of you has a say. When I decorate a Christmas tree, I usually am careful about how the lights look, even setting some deep into the tree and some closer to the surface. And I hide the cords. I start at the top so I can carefully place each light. I'll even mix up the sizes of lights, with strings of bigger and smaller bulbs, because that gives a nice sense of depth. If I go with all clear or white lights, I try to match the color carefully. Some LED lights look warmer in tone, and some are a brighter white.
If you can't agree on the lights, it may be time to start your own tradition. What about mixing your ideas? You add clear white lights your way, and then he can have fun with strings of colored lights, added his way, in stripes. You might also try a pre-lit Christmas tree, an artificial tree that comes with lights already installed — super-easy, less mess, and you'll save money over the years. Or, if you prefer a natural or live tree, choose not to put lights on it. Use lights around your living room and on the inside of your windows instead. And your problem is solved.
I hope you enjoy the rest of your season. Good luck.
Have a design dilemma? Jennifer Adams is an award-winning designer, author of the upcoming book "Love Coming Home" and TV personality. Send your questions to AskJennifer@JenniferAdams.com or for more design ideas, visit Jennifer's blog on her website at www.jenniferadams.com.