The stockings are hung by the chimney with care...

...or not so much by the chimney, since we don't have one, but by the bookshelves, with pushpins. It looks really classy.

We've never been much for Christmas decorations, and yet we have several boxes full of things we've gotten as gifts, or that my parents didn't want but didn't want to throw away and so sent home with us. We have a tacky throw blanket with a picture of Santa on it, a creepy Santa mask, several "Our first Christmas ornaments" (this was the by-product of getting married right before Christmas--people felt compelled to commemorate not only our wedding, but also our "first" Christmas), two nativity sets and some cheap stockings I bought last year at Goodwill for 99-cents each and marked "Mitchimus" and "Theamus" in Sharpie marker--olive green for Mitch, and plum for me. (When people ask, I explain that "Mitchimus" and "Theamus" are our Roman names, which usually gets either an odd look or a laugh).

This year, I decided to go for it and officially decorate, since we have boxes and boxes of stuff going unused in the cupboard beneath our closet that ought to be aired out periodically.

I'd been toying with the idea of getting stockings for the cats (I come from families that include the pets in the stocking roster), but decided against it until I discovered, upon opening a box of decorations, two miniature stockings that I have no recollection of ever receiving or purchasing. I marked them "Gunner" and "J. Sparrow" and hung them, with pushpins, from the bookshelves alongside ours. It's precious, really.

Also, I put out one of the nativity scenes, though I stuck with only Joseph, Mary, Jesus and two sheep, because:

Nativity Set + Psycho Cats = Destruction

...and while I'd hate to see the holy family bite it (Mary has an outstretched arm that I'm certain will be first to go), I figure we can at least keep the wise men, sheperds and livestock tucked away safe for now. Nativity sets seem doomed to be broken, unless you have some sort of glass-fronted display case or very high shelf (we have neither), and I'm thinking they should just come with a tube of super-glue in the box so we might be better equipped to deal with disaster when it strikes.

(As I write, Gunner has been busted nuzzling Joseph in a curious, possibly aggressive manner. He is not supposed to be on the table, and he is definately not supposed to be threatening Joseph. For this, Gunner was awarded a squirt from the Squirt Bottle of Punishment, though I can only imagine what goes on while we're not home...)

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