After— oh —many years of observing human nature, I’ve decided there are only two basic kinds of people, and I’m not referring to gender, though there seems to be some overlap.

The first is what I call the “more is more” group. These folks like lots of everything. They fill their closets with clothes that haven’t seen daylight in decades.

They put pillows everywhere. You have to move pillows to sit down. You have to remove them from the bed just to uncover the pillows you actually sleep on. They keep backup toothbrushes and refill prescriptions weeks before the old ones run out. They inventory birthday cards, just waiting to send exactly the right one.

They send their spouses to refill the gas tank when the needle says half-full. I understand this type very well, because, yes, I’m married to one.

The other kind is the “less is more” group. That’s me, or, as certain unnamed people would correctly insist, that’s I. No pillows, old toothbrushes, birthday cards? What birthday? Maybe opposites really do attract, though I didn’t understand all this before we were married.

What brings this difference to the forefront every year is Christmas.

“Let’s decorate the house,” she says.


There suddenly appear boxes of ornaments and holiday bric-a-brac that have been stashed in the basement or attic or someplace for almost a year. I begin to remember them as they are unpacked and placed everywhere.

“Isn’t that a cute reindeer?”

“Yes, dear.”

“Would you please put Santa over there by the tree?”

“Yes, dear.”

“How about putting up the outside lights?”

“Umm … sure. Where are they? Where do you want them?”

“Oh, just put them around the pine tree in front. And on the shrubs. And maybe over the door. And on the light post. And around the patio. And be sure the bulbs are six inches apart. And the wires don’t show. And …”

“But we don’t have nearly enough lights.”

“Go get some.”

Then there are the poinsettias. Plural.

More is more.

We just went to a neighborhood party where there were five, FIVE indoor, INDOOR trees, all lavishly decorated and fully lit. This doesn’t even count the mantel covered with fluffy things and more lights inside and out.

Unfortunately, this sparked further inspiration. There magically appeared even more boxes. I am going hide in my man-cave until January.

I remember fondly the season, many years ago, when I was instructed to install the outside lights. It was at night, and it was cold. My technique was simple and very efficient. I stood on the front porch and flung the lights over the shrubs as far as I could, then plugged them in. I thought this produced a very satisfactory result.

I reconfigured them the next morning. Six inches apart, hidden wires.

I’m not sure less can ever be more around my house.

Longtime columnist Fred Wolferman recently moved from Southern Pines back to his native Kansas City. Contact him by email at

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