Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Have yourself a nerdy little Christmas!

This year, at House Full of Nerds, we don't have our usual Christmas tree.  It's a long story involving a load of bamboo flooring and several robots.  We've had to get a bit creative with our decorations, so the Nerd in Chief has strung an X of fishing line high in our dining room and hung ornaments on it, so they appear to be floating in space, "like at Hogwarts!" as my younger daughter says.

Hanging the ornaments this high was also our solution when we had a cat who loved to climb the Christmas tree.

Even with the cool dining room decorations, my girls and I were bummed out about having to forgo the ritual of setting up and decorating our tree, an artificial one we've had for more than 20 years.  Over that time, we've accumulated an eclectic assortment of ornaments, many purchased at bargain prices the week after Christmas.  Our favorites include poor Captain Pike from Star Trek TOS, and a clear plastic ball trimmed with gold-tinted cardboard, reflecting the rationing during World War II, when my mom acquired it.

Claire solved the "no tree" problem when she dug out a table-top Christmas tree.  Her older sister got it at a white elephant gift exchange last year and promptly passed along to her.  "I decorated it with Mardi Gras beads!" she said triumphantly.  I added a couple of bells I'd found in a drawer, having forgotten to put them away the previous year, and we put the tree in the living room with some of our many robots.  It's festive, the perfect focal point for gifts, and small enough to be whisked away easily when it's time to install the flooring.

Godzilla and the robots are making sure no one peeks too closely at the presents.

With the tree situation resolved, I was pleased to discover that the remaining essential elements of my family's Christmas celebration were in a single box in the garage:  Our stockings, the Nativity set that goes on our mantle, the Advent wreath, and the Christmas Squirrel. 

The Christmas Squirrel is a relatively recent tradition, introduced to us by my best friend, Adela:  "Remember when you were a kid, and you would get stuff like underwear and tube socks in your stocking?"


"Well, Santa wouldn't do that to you.  That was the Christmas Squirrel."

Yes, those are tube socks in his little paws!
 Why a squirrel?  Since my kids read my blog sometimes, I won't go into the creature's unsettling origins.  Anyway, the adorable stuffed animal Adela fitted with a hand-made Santa hat and coat is so disarmingly cheery that it's been easy for our family to accept it as a well-intentioned provider of necessary if boring footwear.  Its exact origins don't really matter.  Hmm... I don't think that's the first time I've made that argument at this time of year.  I'd better quit before I get too metaphysical.  I hope this finds you and your loved ones happy and healthy, and if you celebrate Christmas, I hope it's a good one!

Please note that all photos are by Dwayne, aka the Nerd in Chief. He can be found at


  1. Sweetness! And fine photography if I do say so myself ;-)

  2. Sounds like great christmas decoration! We haven't set up our tree yet, but I expect this to happen tonight or tomorrow. Otherwise, we might have to copy your idea. ;) I like the Christmas Squirrel.
    Merry Christmas!

  3. "Unsettling origins," huh? No matter -- I'm glad that the Christmas Squirrel is now a part of your family lore. :-) Merry (late) Christmas to my favorite nerds.