We put up our Christmas tree last night. The good thing about it? I didn’t get stuck in the attic this time, trying desperately to get the tree down. I spent over an hour up there last year, no cell phone and nobody in the house to save me. But the best thing about this year? It felt good. It was good to rearrange the furniture in my small house to fit the gigantic ten foot tree. It was a pleasure to listen to Christmas music while decorating the tree with my kids. It was even nice getting the tree out of the attic this year. Why? Because I stripped away the social expectations of Christmas.
My ‘tinselectomy‘ has been a progressive thing, as I have never cared for the craziness of Christmas. Growing up, Christmas was defined as whatever my mom wanted. The pristine, Better Homes and Gardens tree was put up the day after Thanksgiving and taken down Christmas day. By bedtime, there were no visible signs that Christmas ever happened, other than the loads of extra toys that were meticulously stored away and a sad feeling like something was missing.
After all my years working in retail, watching the insanity and working ridiculous hours to accommodate shoppers that have no appreciation for anything but buy more things they don’t need, I began to dislike Christmas. Not the meaning of it, but the commercialized version of it. I remember having to open the store during the ‘season’ and the hundreds of people waiting to come in, looks of anticipation and glances at their watches, waiting impatiently to carry out their strategic plan. Run and grab all the items they absolutely had to have. We set the security cameras to record the frenzy, counted to three, unlocked the doors, then had to quickly press ourselves against the wall to avoid being trampled to death by crazed shoppers. I gave that tape to the local news station.
Over the years, Christmas to me was just a time of year where people were too busy replacing relationships with materialism, justifying it with family photos printed on cards with quirky family updates written inside. Great, your kids are perfect, your life is wonderful and we are all a year older. I quit sending cards years ago, although I do send some printed photos to my grandma.
This year? I’m celebrating with old and new friends, and even with people I don’t know. I’m giving my time and financial resources to people in need, not people in want. I’m teaching my kids to do this as well. I’m changing the way I live to keep doing these things after Christmas. And if you want to know what’s going on in my life and my kids lives? Look at my wall on Facebook, updated daily.
Don’t worry, I have a photo as promised in yesterday’s blog post. It’s December, and in Texas, the trees are still deciding whether or not it’s time to drop the leaves. Fall? Winter? It’s hard to tell. Oh, wait!!! We had snow flurries last night. The trees are probably angry now. I like snow… on postcards.
Apparently the holidays are a big blur for some people. Just to make sure we don’t miss any important holidays (you would think it’s illegal not to decorate here) so we will put up the Christmas tree with the pumpkin in front of it. That would be the Halloween pumpkin with a face on it. I would love to say this was the only house decorated in multiple holidays, but we saw many of them during the two hour shoot. In the words of Rod on cold meds, “Merry Christmas or whatever…” Whatever has become of Christmas? I better go watch Nightmare Before Christmas so I can find it.