Why My Christmas Tree Stays Up PAST New Year’s Day!

Christmas Tree
As I type this, I am sitting by the twinkling lights of our Christmas tree. Yes, it’s still up, and it won’t be coming down anytime soon. I understand that the hustle and bustle of the New Year quickly replaces the hustle and bustle of the commercial Christmas holiday. The struggle of holiday exhaustion is real. Retail stores parade giant inflatable Santas, projection light shows and twinkling candy canes in our faces as early as October, and by January, the call for tidying up, un-decking the halls and getting a fresh start on the New Year is strong. For me, though, a fresh start doesn’t have to equal an end to the Christmas season. After all, Christmas Day doesn’t hit until December 25th! Our Christmas tree is the most direct expression of that truth because we enjoy it in layers all season long. While some bask in the beauty of their Christmas tree long before Thanksgiving, our tree is one of the last decorations we complete and the one that we enjoy the longest.

It all starts by making room for the tree. I love having a fresh-cut evergreen tree for Christmas. It makes the house smell wonderful. It reminds me of my childhood, and there is just something so majestic about the beautifully maddening process of putting the darn thing up. I make a spot for our tree while I’m decorating the house just after Thanksgiving, but we don’t pick out our tree until the first or second week of December. It’s exciting looking at the circular hole in our decorations and know that soon we will have a gorgeous tree lighting up the room.

The day we bring our tree in the house is equally thrilling. We wrestle it inside, fuss over it, question whether or not it is centered, and wonder if it’s leaning too far to the right. Then, when we are reasonably confident with its placement, we leave it. Seriously, we leave it just as it is, sans decorations, in all its evergreen glory. It stands there for a few days while the branches fall out and take shape. I stare at it and fuss with it a few more times. The smell of it is intoxicating, and the beautiful green of it is new and fresh. This time also gives the dog a chance to get used to the fact that her crazy humans have once again brought a  tree into the house.

Then comes the reckoning. Sometime around the third week of December, the love affair hits a rough patch. I have a knockdown, drag-out fight with our Christmas tree, while I struggle to string lights. It’s a nightmare that is always my job, and deep down, I love it. While hanging the lights, I traditionally announce that next year’s tree will need to be much smaller. Then I resolve that, YES, at the after-Christmas sale, I will be purchasing a pre-lit, artificial tree. Of course, that never happens, because once the lights are on, I fall in love all over again. The angel that sat atop my grandparents’ tree now sits atop our tree. And I’m immediately transformed from grumbling grinch to ecstatic elf in an instant. We enjoy our tree for the remaining “pre-holi”days of December just as is: beautiful twinkling lights, no ornaments. We add our ornaments a few days prior to Christmas Eve. And just in time for Christmas, our tree is fully decorated and ready to celebrate.

Now you want to take it down? No way. It just reached all of its gorgeously glittery potential! Now is the time to fully appreciate what all the hustle and bustle of the pre-Christmas season led up to. We enjoy, remember and celebrate. You can be assured that our tree will be up for all 12 days of Christmas and maybe a few beyond it. And then soon enough, our lovely tree will become garden mulch. But for today, it is a reminder of the joy of expectation and promises fulfilled as we celebrate Christmas and begin a New Year.

So whether your tree is up or down, whether you had a tree or not, in whatever way you celebrate the turning of this season… from my family to yours, I wish you a Happy New Year. (Sent from my cozy seat beside my twinkling Christmas tree.)

Stacy Mcdonald-Taylor
Stacy, a former health care program manager, came to the first coast by way of Charlotte, NC. Passionate for community and creative arts. Stacy has worked with families and educators through Parent Education & Outreach Programs. Since welcoming the births of her and her husband’s two delightful, energetic sons, she has worked from home, always seeking to find new ways to provide a joy-filled, creative environment, nurturing a love for people, learning, nature, and healthy, natural/organic foods. Stacy shares tidbits of her “life learnings” on her blog, Wasting Nothing



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