Saturday, January 7, 2012

Why our Christmas Tree is still shining bright


I usually feel very ready to dismantle the Christmas Tree the day after Christmas.
Very ready.
Ren Man has been of the opinion that we should wait until we can't stand it anymore (okay, really I can't stand it, he still doesn't care) before finally getting a tree before Christmas.
Ren Man's mom usually waits until January 6th to take down their tree.
New Year's is usually my limit.
New Year's day = no tree.

This year is different.
In so.many.ways, it's different.
As much as it felt like there was absolutely no more of me to give towards an extra task (Christmas was reduced to a "something to cross off my to-do list") it also was an excuse to slow down - at least after the day.
Leading up to Christmas we kept presents hidden.
Generally, at the end of the gift giving frenzy the tree suddenly looks naked and forlorn - all empty below it's sprawling branches.

Without that lead up of a present filled under story of the tree .... in fact, having only been adorned with presents for less than 12 hours ... the tree didn't look so naked after the presents were open.
It was still lovely in the memories it held connected to each ornament, the soft glow of light it gave to the living room area, the (disappointingly faint) smell of pine tree ... warmth, family, relaxation.

Suddenly, one day, without meaning to, I realized that Christmas was an event long past.

Before Christmas we had a family over for dinner who we didn't know very well. I suddenly realized that it would be mildly embarrassing if we didn't yet have a tree up, being so close to Christmas.
In the same way, I realized it might be embarrassing to have friends over and still have our Christmas tree shining bright.
My parents came and my mom mentioned it was a pathetic looking tree.
This was not said in meanness nor was it offensive - I'm quite proud of our unique tree.
But it made me wonder if others felt sorry for our tree and might not see it as quite so endearing.

And suddenly I was done.
I packed the tree up in a jiffy.
I loved seeing the ornaments again, one-by-one and remembering everything that brought them into our lives.
There's a frame decorated with tissue paper by Ark Boy with a picture of him inside the frame and the words: "I love my mommy and daddy because they pick me up." He made this in his preschool years.
There is the camera ornament my parents gifted to us this year.
There is the ornament from Ren Man's first Christmas and the one from mine.
As ready as I was to have our living room back, it was also sad to think of not seeing these mementos for a whole year.
It was fun to think of the fun we had this Christmas and how different and exciting next Christmas will be.
And now our living room feels big and light and airy (although in the Christmas process we managed to inherit three LARGE plants for a friend who was closing her inn for the winter ... and then two more impressively sized plants from my parents ... and we still have three big potted plants at Ren Man's parents).
I wonder if that's part of the purpose of a Christmas tree ...
It was overwhelming to think of the stuff we would inevitably need to home after the holidays (not including the plants :) ) ... with the tree gone it suddenly seems our home has doubled in size. Oh, and we love the additional greenery - especially with the view out of the large windows being all white and brown with occasional blue skies.

No comments: