It’s done. Three days after Thanksgiving and my Christmas tree is up. In this very unusual year, it feels good to have some sense of normalcy.
Tree Or No Tree
There is a wide range of feelings on decorating for Christmas this year. Some people have had their Christmas trees up for a few weeks already. They were ready to bring a bright spot into this pandemic-weary world. I recall a movement earlier this year where people were urged to put their Christmas lights up extra early in an attempt to lift everyone’s spirits.
Other people are scaling back this Christmas. Maybe it’s because they know their loved ones can’t come home this year. I have friends who have said they just aren’t in the spirit this year. I can empathize. It has been a trying year for sure.
I was in that camp earlier this summer. When COVID was raging, with no apparent end in sight, I had a few weeks of gloominess. My plans for celebrating my 60th birthday in December were beginning to unravel so I thought we may as well just cancel Christmas too. There was so much uncertainty. Will the virus still be around? Will it be safe to gather for Christmas? Will my kids even be able to make it home? Is it really worth all of the trouble this year?
Christmas After Thanksgiving
Here’s the thing. I love Christmas. I love putting up a Christmas tree. I love the way my house looks, feels and smells when it is decorated for Christmas. My husband and I spent our first five Christmases with just the two of us and we put up a Christmas tree then. Why not now?
Here’s another thing. I’m very much a traditionalist. I typically put up my Christmas decorations after Thanksgiving. I like to finish one holiday before starting the next. (I wish sports followed the same rules, you know, don’t start another sport season until the current season is finished.) The past four years, we have traveled in December so I have bended my rule a little in order to have the maximum amount of Christmas decoration enjoyment time.
So, last Thursday, as soon as we returned home after our Thanksgiving lunch, I boxed up all the pumpkins, fall leaves and pilgrims and put them away until next year. I pulled out the bins of Christmas decorations and got to work on my Christmas tree. My puppy was quite confused.
I usually put my nativity scene out first, but I changed my routine this year. It’s not that I think it is less important than my other decorations. Like Paul would say, “May it never be!” It is the most important. Without the nativity, without Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus there would be no Christmas to celebrate.
Share The Light
I decided to put my tree up first because so many people will see it. We live in a self-contained neighborhood of three streets. We live on a corner lot of our street. Everyone who lives on our street sees the back of our house as they are driving in. Just for fun, I did a little survey. There are 47 houses, 16 patio homes and 22 condominium units on our street. That’s at least 85 cars that have to drive by our house on their way home.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized my Christmas tree wasn’t just for me and my husband. It wasn’t even for my kids, who may be here four or five days at the most. I hope that when my neighbors drive home from work, they will notice my Christmas tree in the window and smile. From now until Epiphany Day, I hope it will remind them that the hope of Christmas is still alive and well in their neighborhood. I pray that no matter what stress, or sadness, or loss they are experiencing, they will know there is always a spark of hope.
Now, it’s time to go set up that Nativity scene and start celebrating the source of that ultimate hope born on that Christmas so long ago, Jesus Christ.
How about you? What are doing about a Christmas tree this year? The usual or scaling back? Did you put it up early or wait? I would love to hear if this most unusual year has altered your Christmas decorating.