We typically get a Christmas tree right after Thanksgiving. If I’m gonna spend that much time decorating, we’ll enjoy it for as long as possible. I’ve tried to follow the tradition of our church, which is to keep the tree up through Epiphany, but, by Christmas day, we’re done. Sorry, Father Fain.
For those who are curious and/or interested, Epiphany is typically celebrated on January 6. It’s the demonstration or showing of God in human form which, for Christians, is the big man, Jesus. Growing up Methodist, I’m sure we talked about it, but no one I knew kept their Christmas tree up that long. People do in Augusta.
If y’all are anything like us, the trees are nothing more than kindling by December 26. This is often remedied by getting the tree later than usual. Unfortunately, I don’t usually have the patience. I love Christmas decorations.
I worked at Fat Man’s on and off for about five years. As you can imagine, my ornament collection is rather, well, extensive. I have coordinating sets for at least eight trees, all with different themes. We could have sparkly, woodland, traditional red and green, jewel tones, only silver and gold, candy, Santas only, and I’m sure I could go on and on. The Kids each get a little tree for their rooms, and we have a six-foot trim tree dedicated to their nearly 10 years of handmade ornaments.
I’m not going to try to lie. I originally started this precious tree so their toilet paper roll and handprint ornaments wouldn’t junk up my fancy trees. It morphed into one of my favorite trees, but my intentions were less than stellar at first.
After being at the beach for Thanksgiving week, I was motivated to come back and deck our halls. On the nearly 10-hour drive home, I planned the week, from when things needed to come out of the attic, to when we would go choose the perfect tree.
As an aside, we always get our tree at Martinez United Methodist Church. Their Men’s Group runs the tree lot each year, and they are the nicest people, with fresh beautiful trees. We have a hard time deciding, because they’re all perfectly shaped. Once you get on their mailing list, they send you a coupon each year. They sell wreaths and boiled peanuts and always give us a free sprig of fresh mistletoe. It’s no Fat Man’s, but we love supporting a local organization.
When we got home from the beach, life happened. I can’t even remember what kept us busy, but the box of fall decorations still sat at the base of the attic stairs, and the advent calendar was about a week behind. As stupid as it sounds, I almost started to panic.
We host Christmas Eve at our house each year. I cook champagne shrimp, and The Kids read ‘Twas the Night before Christmas. The adults have adult beverages, and the little ones eat candy and run around. I love it. The other day, when I noticed our neighbor’s Countdown to Christmas lawnament said something like 15 days until Christmas, we didn’t yet have a tree. We didn’t have a wreath on the front door.
What on earth was wrong with me? The Kids’ friends’ houses were decorated from top to bottom, and guilt started to set in. The more I put it off, the more daunting it seemed. We finally went to get a tree, but it sat, lightless, in the stand. Sad.
I’m not sure if it was laziness or what, but I had a vision. I wanted a simple tree, with a few strands of lights and our favorite ornaments. For our seven-foot tree, I only used 400 lights. Anyone out there in the Fat Man’s family will tell you that is simply not enough. Believe it or not, the general rule is 100 lights per foot. Seven-foot tree? Seven hundred lights. That may sound excessive, but it makes for a pretty magical tree. Not this time.
I grabbed a few strands of lights, loosely wrapping them down the tree. Do you start at the top or bottom? I always start at the top, working my way to the bottom, but last year I learned there are two very distinct schools of thought on this matter.
I told y’all we have a lot of ornaments. Boxes and boxes. I opened the first one, which held many of my most prized ornaments. Each has a story, unlike the matching apple green and fire engine red aluminum balls and rolls of coordinating ribbons. We talked about the ornaments as we hung them and remembered how we got each one.
Decorating the entire tree didn’t take more than an hour. We turned all the lights in the house off, leaving only the glow of our few strands of white lights. It is beautiful and by far my favorite tree yet. Some may call it lazy, but I have a new motto: less time preparing, more time enjoying.
I even decided on a Christmas card photo last night and ordered my cards. You may not get one before the 25th, but they’re coming. If you need me between now and then, I’ll be admiring my perfect Christmas tree. I don’t feel lazy. It’s peaceful.
Wishing you and yours the same peace this year. And eggnog. Lots of eggnog.