I have a confession.
Those three little words often make my husband break out in a cold sweat. It usually means I’ve gotten myself into some kind of catastrophe, or I’ve spent too much money. Either way, the words generally make him a little nervous, but he’s pretty good at keeping his cool while I’m owning up to my misdeeds. And more often than not, he doesn’t see my confessions as being as dark or ominous or catastrophic as I do anyway.
I’m hoping you’ll be as forgiving as he is, friends.
See, usually around Thanksgiving time, I go on and on about how Christmas can wait while we pause to be grateful for what we have, and how I get super annoyed by the rushing of the Christmas season- even though Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year. I try to be mindful of the reason for Thanksgiving, and make Christmas wait until the day after.
Typically, we spend the long Thanksgiving weekend out of town with our families. This year, Ryan wasn’t able to get extra time off work, so we stayed home and cooked our meal here. When we’re traveling for Thanksgiving, it’s kind of our tradition that I set up at least one- sometimes two- of our Christmas trees before we leave home for the weekend. It’s a welcome sight when we come home to see the tree twinkling, sparking the beginning of the rest of the Christmas decorating. Maybe it makes me a bit of a hypocrite, but I’m still steadfast in my refusal to take down the fall décor until Thanksgiving has passed.
This year, however, I went a little farther in my hypocrisy. Because 2020 was such a crapshoot, we’ve struggled to find some joy in these parts, so when my boys (all four of them) started asking to put up Christmas trees right after Halloween, I gave it serious thought. Typically I shoot them down until the day right before Thanksgiving, but this year it seemed fitting to adjust our traditions just a bit to allow us to enjoy our favorite season a little longer. I managed to hold them off until the weekend before Thanksgiving, when we busted out the six artificial Christmas trees, ranging in height from 9′ down to 1′.
That was as far as I was willing to go until after Thanksgiving, but by Black Friday, we were decked out, and all six trees and all of the decorations were displayed. Everyone was happy.
As always, Christmas came and went far too quickly, and I’ve found myself reluctant to un-deck our halls. Early in January, I did begin to take down a few things. I’ve left the snowmen out; we live in an area that will have snow, most likely, through April or May, so I don’t feel like it’s out of season to keep them displayed a bit longer.
That leaves us with the trees. While the boys have asked to have the trees in their bedrooms removed, I’m just not ready to take down the bigger ones yet. The entryway tree will most likely stay up until at least Easter, if not beyond. It’s currently decorated in snowmen, and I have St. Patrick’s Day and Easter decorations to put up as those holidays get closer. The tabletop tree in the guest bedroom is ready for Valentine’s Day. And the main 9′ tree is still bringing so much cheer that I’m hesitant to take it down as well. It still makes me feel so calm and peaceful to turn off all the lights after everyone has gone to bed and sit by only the light of the Christmas tree and the lighted banister behind it. Same in the basement- I love seeing the lighted tree next to the fireplace while we’re downstairs watching TV. There is such a rush around the holidays that I don’t feel like I fully appreciate the beauty of the decorations.
The year my sister was born, I remember my mom insisting that we keep the Christmas tree up until she had arrived in order to get a photo of the new baby under the tree. My sister turned 18 on January 12th, and it seems fitting that this be one of those years we honor my mom’s insistence that the tree stay up a little longer- to honor my sister’s official entry to adulthood. My mom texted me last week to let me know that she’d given in and taken her Christmas tree down, and while I’ve thought about it several times, I’m still not 100% convinced that I won’t regret it in a week or two.
Our eight year old told me last week that at the beginning of January, I told him I’d take it down in a week. It’s been a month. And I have zero regrets that it’s still up.
On my way home from picking up takeout Chinese food from our favorite place in town last weekend, I noticed that our decorations are not the only ones still up. As of last week, from our front door I could still see outdoor Christmas lights in our neighborhood still lit.
And that, my friends, is how I am confessing to you on this Groundhog Day, 2021, that we still have four Christmas trees up and lit. As the snow continues to fall outside and with the news of Punxsutawney Phil seeing his shadow and the forecast of six more weeks of winter, I’m just going to grab my warm slippers and fleece lined leggings and continue to enjoy the warmth of the season for just a bit longer.
Stay warm, stay safe, stay sane.