To Tree or Not to Tree...That is the Question
It’s fast approaching that Most Wonderful Time of the Year, and this year I lost the argument with myself and opted to put my tree up early. I’ve never put it up before Thanksgiving, so this is a first for me! I am going to go out on a limb here (lol) and say that the reason for the early season is how much more tuned into politics I have been in 2018. It’s left me with a bit of a desperate need for that peaceful, hot chocolate, cozy, deck the halls type of cheer in my life.
In years past, I have wanted to put the tree up early, but I have chided myself for rushing to the next thing and not taking the time to celebrate Thanksgiving. For our family, Thanksgiving is not about pilgrims and Indians and the version history would have us believe. No, for our family, and I think for many others, Thanksgiving has become a day in which we celebrate all that we are thankful for. Putting up a tree before that seemed to do a disservice or at least defeat the purpose of a holiday meant specifically for being thankful, as many people associate Christmas with getting gifts. So this year, I decided to put up my tree and be thankful for the extra time I had to admire it and enjoy its holiday cheer.
The next thing I had to ask myself is the yearly question that causes my sentimental side and my competitive side to each take the podium and present their argument. That question is: Is this the year I’m going to get that huge tree I’ve always wanted? The tree I want to decorate with only large cranberry bows and Victorian inspired angels along with cranberries and gold accents. You know- the kind of trees you see in magazines all fancy and grown up and stuff. The opposite of the tree I have now.
The tree I have now is a humble tree that I got on sale for $99 at Target. It was my first tree I had when I moved to the Twin Cities area, and I couldn’t even really afford it. I had virtually nothing when I moved here, and although I had a great support system in my friends and family, times were very, very tough. That little tree was the best. It is small, unassuming, and humble. It is decorated with Dollar Store ornaments, homemade ornaments, and a receipt from the BP gas gift card given to me for Christmas by our church that I glued onto a piece of red construction paper. It was the first time I was able to fill up my gas tank to the full mark. Every year I put this tree up, and every year when I take it down, I put it in the box thinking it was my last year with that little forlorn looking thing.
Fast forward to this year, and guess what? This is the first year I get to host Christmas! My family is coming here from Up North! I am beyond excited that they said yes to my request to be the one hosting Christmas. Thankfully my living situation has improved, and I am able to decorate and cook and put my family up in a place to stay for a few nights. The other big deal for me is that I finally have a perfect reason to get that great big, wonderful tree. It seems fitting that I should have a grand tree for my first Christmas hosting! I looked at Costco, Target, Walmart & online for something that appealed to me. Here’s where the debate really got heated in my mind.
The reason our family celebrates Thanksgiving, and the reason we celebrate Christmas vs. my desire to impress, be impressed, treat myself to something I’ve waited 4 years for, and to make everything perfect. As I went over these things in my mind, I grabbed the box out of the storage room and just put on some Christmas classics, poured a little glass of Holly Jolly Christmas Folly (my very own name for any holiday inspired cocktail) and I started putting up my old tree. I thought, well, if I buy a new tree, I’ll just put this one on our deck! It will look so pretty, right? After the tree was up, and the lights were twinkling, and I sat on the couch to admire my work, I realized... I love my little tree. My little Charlie Brown, crooked tree. I got a little misty eyed and it dawned on me like it does every single year – This tree is a reminder of where I have been, the generosity of people who helped me make it down here, the moments my daughter Brianna and I have shared getting through tough times, and the many reasons I have to be thankful for the numerous gifts I’ve been given in my life.
My friends, this is not to say that if you’re celebrating with a grand tree, a gorgeous, breathtaking steal-the-show type of tree, that you aren’t “doing Christmas right” or that you’re missing the point of Christmas. Each of us has a story and each of us chooses to tell it or be reminded of it in different ways. I will live vicariously through your beautiful white and blue tree, or your classy Cherry Blossom tree, or your large old-fashioned Christmas type tree. I will like your photos with genuine admiration, and I will maybe even feel a twinge of envy at your perfectly decorated Tannenbaum. I love seeing how each of you choose to decorate- it gives me a little glimpse inside your life and how you like to get your Christmas on! I love seeing the simple trees and I love seeing the fancy ones, keep them coming!
In the meantime, this year at least, I will keep my little tree and maybe next year I’ll take the plunge with a new one. And try to remember my friends, it’s easy to get annoyed at people who choose to put up their trees early, but it helps if you think of the fact that everyone does the holidays differently. I’ve now been on both sides of the Thanksgiving tree timeline, and I have to say- I’m happy with my choice to celebrate longer, so... Happy (early) Holidays from our home to yours!