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The School of Flaunt

Back when "Flying Was Fun" Alexandra Smythe and Cate Clarke were Flight Attendants with a Major International Carrier. Prior to Private Jets coming into vogue, Alexandra and Cate traveled in the First Class World, meeting and greeting the top celebrities, politicians who would become Presidents, nouveau riche, and yes the occasional Headline Grabbing Criminal in Handcuffs!

What the two ladies viewed and experienced became fodder for the School of Flaunt, so much money, such bad taste and oh those terrible manners. Something had to be done! Hence, The School of Flaunt Handbook was born. Read More

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Oh Tannenbaum

Category: SOF Divas’ Diaries ®  |  Permalink

Published: Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Oh Tannenbaum


How much longer will it take to decorate this tree?

It has become a tradition in our home that the Christmas tree will go up Thanksgiving weekend. Why? Well, it all started because I would add up the number of days that we might be able to enjoy it, if it went up mid December, and it was just pitiful. Therefore a number of years ago I decided to take the plunge and purchase my first "artificial" tree. It was gorgeous, 6 feet high, full around, and was flocked. I loved that tree and I put lots of red and gold on it and it was a show stopper. But as any artificial flocked tree eventually does, the flocking started to go. So much to my dismay my tree went to the trash man.

But the decision to replace it was also helped that year when I saw a flaunt fabulous eight footer on sale in the paper after Christmas. (Please note that I had also seen this tree in the store during the Holidays so I was not purchasing blind.) I called and asked if this tree was still available and the sales clerk said, "Yes, we still have one." It was an OMG moment! Only ONE!! "Here's my credit card number, hold it for me! I'll be right down." I immediately told my husband to get in the car and drive down there to pick up my new tree. He was not particular excited until I told him I was getting 50% off; he is not immune to the lure of a sale either.

Oh, that beautiful artificial Tannebaum served us so well. No one could believe that it wasn't real. Why? Well, we put 1,200 small white lights on it and approximately another 150 bubble lights and those lovely old fashion big fat green, red, yellow and purple ones too. Then add a few hundred ornaments, garland and tinsel and Viola, a flaunt fabulous tree.

How many days did this take to put it up though? Well, it was a four day endeavor. Yes four days! Get the tree out, put it together, get out all of the ornament boxes, make eggnog, drink eggnog, watch some football, eat some cookies, put a string of lights on it, watch some more football, put another string of lights on it, watch some more football. That was day one!

Day Two: Open all of the ornament boxes. Climb up to the top of tree and place the Radko topper and bows. Garland is next. It must be swaged just perfectly. Back to the ladder, up and down we go. At this point we have had enough and our creative juices are finished for the day.

Day Three: ORNAMENTS! The nostalgia moments start. "Oh, remember when we got this ornament. Oh these belonged to my Mother. Oh remember we got this one from so and so. Oh yes, this one is from Vienna when the crew took a plane there during one of our strikes instead of staying in Pisa, Italy. (Now that is story I will have to tell you about later. Nothing like hijacking a company plane during a strike! It was great fun!!!) And of course my Harrods ornaments that are a reminder of all of those good shopping times!

But back to the tree saga. The ornaments take another day to put on the tree. There are 300 give or take a few. And then the final touch, "tinsel" - lots of tinsel!! Back up and down the ladder!!! My feet and legs are killing me now from the ladder time.

Finally it is finished! I can hardly wait for that first evening to sit and look at it lit in all of its glory.

Oh that tree served us well for many years. But there is an end to everything and last year what happened?

I went into my favorite Christmas shop after January 1st just to look around and see if there was anything I wanted to pick up on sale. You guessed it!

There by the front door was a TEN foot pre-lit tree. It was stripped down now, looking so sad without all of its ornaments. But what to my wondering eyes did appear? SALE!!!! Yes, it was a week after Christmas and it had been originally $1200 and now was $600. It was pre lit and came in four pieces!! Just think how much easier this would be than putting a tree together limb by limb and it would also remove the task of putting all of those little lights on it. Only Bubbles and old fashion fat ones would have to be put on by hand. My mind started racing, "Should I or shouldn't I?" Hmm, I'll let my husband make this decision.

Cell phone in hand now. "Honey, you'll never guess what I'm standing by?" I won't bore you with the conversation but he surprised me and said, "Sounds good, buy it." Wow, we are now up to a ten foot tree, with topper eleven feet! Thank goodness we have 12 foot ceilings.

So this year was the first year for our new tree. I actually thought it would take less time to put it up and decorate. What was I thinking? You guessed it! No, the tree came out of the boxes. It only took a few minutes to snap together but then it took me 2 hours to fluff it all out. My husband mean time was enjoying his football games, and enjoying his football games, and enjoying his football games!!! That evening the rest of the lights finally went on. Hallelujah!!

Day Two: Radko topper, surrounded by gold birds, bows, and perfectly draped garland. Up and down the ladder she goes!! A few ornaments were put on but my enthusiasm was waning so I decided to stop.

Day Three: Ornaments and tinsel. Up and down the ladder! Up and down that @#%* ladder! Wake up in the middle of the night and decide that the tree needs more ornaments. Will do in the morning.

Day Four: More ornaments, now numbering well over 300, requiring Up and Down the Ladder!! This tree seems to eat ornaments at night! Maybe there is a tree Fairy who is playing a mean joke on me? Finally I'm finished with the tree! Now it is time for the foyer and living room mantle decorations. Wreaths inside and out. More time on that ladder!! I'm half dead now!

Day Five: Put the ornament boxes away!!! Get out the central vacuum and do the floors. Breathe a sigh of relief!! Take a long hot bath and enjoy those pulsating jets! That night a very nice bottle of white wine, nibbles, and plenty of tree watching. Of course I have to move a few ornaments. I resisted the urge to ask my husband to get the ladder out again. I wasn't totally brain dead!

Was it worth it? Yes! I love my new tree. But will I when I have to take it down the first week of January? I'll cross that bridge later.

Merry Christmas,



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