The effortlessly stylish Spinoff Parents editor walks us through the decorating ideas that transformed a suburban Wellington family home into a magical Christmas wonderland. How does she do it?
Welcome to this week’s issue of Parents Who Are Very Tired Monthly. It’s the very special Christmas issue! It’s jam packed with wonderful Christmas WHAT ARE YOU DOING? GET YOUR FINGER OUT OF THERE! WHAT DID I SAY? Ahem, excuse me, in this issue, bursting at the seams with HEAPS OF FUCKING CHRISTMAS CHEER, Emily Writes invites readers into her festive oasis. We also have 68376 easy Christmas craft ideas for you to do as you cry at 3am while popping Valium.
Welcome Emily – Your house is just inspired! What inspires you in an inspirational way?
I’m very inspired by pinot gris and falling asleep on the couch to episodes of bad reality TV and I think my style really embraces that. I like my home to reflect the internal terror and anxiety I have festering just below the surface of my existence. I often let my boys watch 16-27 hours of Peppa Pig each day so the television is really the centrepiece of our home.
This Christmas I wanted our tree to reflect our surroundings and what we love to do together. I don’t know any parents who don’t enjoy doing laundry – it really is my “me-time”. I find washing six to eight loads of washing a day so joyful. Because we don’t have a dryer I get the thrill of having up to five clothes racks up in one day. So that’s why I decided to incorporate my clothes racks into my Christmas tree this year.
Inspirational! What about your tree? Tell us about it!
I opted for a partly broken clothes rack that I allowed the boys to drape tinsel over. I can’t find the box that has all the Christmas decorations in it because I opened the garage and was so overwhelmed I just shut the door again. I did find my husband in there looking mournfully at a clock, trapped in an existential crisis though.
And what about that thing? It looks inspirational?
I’m glad you asked, it’s actually a beautiful Christmas story – my neighbours are hoarders so sometimes debris from their chaotic life crosses the boundary line of our houses. That’s when I claim it. And that’s where I found that slightly dog-chewed Christmas tree thing that’s sitting on the floor there.
Success! Tell us about your inspirational decorations!
For decorations I spent an hour and a half cutting out Christmas baubles for the children to colour. I thought it would be a wonderful wholesome activity and I thought we could craft together while singing Bing Crosby Christmas classics and talking about how much we appreciate each other. I was quite drunk! The next morning I excitedly put paint out for them ready for our Enforced Gratitude Time. They really enjoyed painting everything but the baubles and then saying “I’m bored mama” 1827 times after only 30 seconds of painting. I can tell you I really felt the Christmas spirit!
Inspirational! And what about these inspired presents?
I wrapped presents in 60% off the cheapest wrapping at The Warehouse for that surviving on one income look! I wrote the names of my children on them with a black permanent marker to save money on gift cards. I bought the almost-two year old a few boxes of tissues and a 45 minute consultation with an exorcist. I bought my four-year-old 500 grams of luncheon!
Inspired! What is the theme of your inspirational décor? Is it French? It looks French!
HAHAA I’VE NEVER BEEN TO FRANCE but I once went to Hamilton. During the holidays there’s usually a spate of burglaries across this great land of ours – inspired by this we have decorated our house with the “ransacked look”. It’s very 2016, and also very two children under four and trying to work while you look after them. The thing I like about it is that it’s just like this and there’s nothing I can do about it.
My son was gifted an inexplicably huge Ninja Turtle that he has called Jeff the Humage Ginger Turdel. Because Jeff is the largest thing we own and serves no other purpose than to terrify me every time I have to get up during the night to make a bottle we decided to make him Santa for Christmas. He wears a beard I randomly found in the dress up box and Baby Banz earmuffs that I’d prefer to wear 24-7 to block out the relentless Christmas cheer. He also holds Christmas bags instead of the two giant swords that he used to hold. They were confiscated after a particularly spirited disagreement between my two kids about who should be able to play with a toilet roll.
What inspired thing are you doing for your Christmas lunch?
One and a half bottles of half price booze from Pak’n’Save! My son has requested luncheon.
Inspirational! Do you have a recipe?
I do! Go to Pak’n’Save and buy the cheapest bubbly and then open it and drink it. If you go to the deli they will give you a slice of luncheon for free! It’s such a beautiful custom I find it hard not to break out in the New Zealand national anthem every time I’m given a slice of horse/sheep/cow/beaks. Perfection!
I’m feeling so inspired I’m in physical pain. Do you have a Pinterest?
Can you tell us how to get your look?
I’m wearing maternity leggings bought almost five years ago! This tee-shirt I was given in a charity run that I walked because I was quite hungover and I don’t like running. I don’t even like fast walking. The clothes racks are from The Warehouse. The tinsel was found in the garage and it smells like broken dreams. Our television was bought on HP during a time when I stopped smoking and needed to replace it with another vice. I chose shopping but I had no money. I don’t recommend doing this. My plummeting self-esteem is sponsored by Instagram and my sense of failure was picked up for free during 3am feeds scrolling Pinterest Christmas ideas.
Inspirational inspiration! Tune in for next month’s Parents Who Are Very Tired Monthly. We’ve got 16,000 New Year’s Resolutions for you to break and feel terrible about!
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.