Stowe, Hershey’s Chocolate World, two light festivals (article forthcoming), The Christmas Loft, and more Christmas specials than you can shake a candy cane at. However, so far there’s been a large, conical void in our Christmas lives. We only just yesterday picked up our tree.
I know. For some people this is okay. Heck, I know people who don’t bother with trees until Christmas Eve itself (and by people I’m talking about various movie and television characters who have to squeeze every single Christmas tradition into short plot arcs). However, for me, this is the kind of crime they should stone you for in more stone-y countries. The fact is, no matter how many decorations we put up, nothing we do at the house seems Christmasy unless it’s bathed in the multi-colored glow of a lighted Christmas tree.
You see, not counting Christmas weekend itself, we’ll be spending only one weekend (this one) at home in December and, in the entire previous month of November, that number was between zero and one, depending on whether you are my wife or me. That’s Ludicrous Speed. And, honestly, it kind of made me want to go back to having a fake tree.
Truth is, though, live and fake trees both have huge benefits and downsides.
Fake trees, well, they’re crazy easy to put up these days (pre-lighted, three pieces), you don’t have to pick them up, the same tree ends up being part of the tradition just like all your favorite Christmas decorations, they’re more cost-efficient, they aren’t chucked into the aforementioned sad snow bank, and they’re safer. Of course, they’re artificiality is impossible to hide up close, you miss out on the tradition of going out with family and choosing one, they feel like less of an accomplishment once they’re up, and they just don’t have the presence (or smell) of real trees.
Still, in the three total previous Christmases that my wife and I have been together, we’ve done live trees. And I hate, hate, hate breaking streaks, whether it’s brand of gum purchased at the grocery store impulse rack or how long I’ve gone without falling down (one year, eight months, one week, five days).
Turned out to be a real fun time. The tree farm we visited yesterday had a petting zoo, wagon rides, a bonfire, and I managed to yet again, thanks to the farm staff, avoid having to tie the tree to the top of the car myself (I’m terrible to the point of emasculation with knots). Once the cold had seeped deep enough into our bones, we jumped back into the car and, with the new Mayhem Allstate Christmas commercial freshly in our minds, took off for home.
This morning, my hands are still sticky with sap and there’s tree water all over the floor, but there's something slowly dying in the corner of my living room, and it finally feels like Christmas is here. Today my agenda looks like this: Decorate Christmas tree, bake cookies, watch Christmas specials, wrap presents. Busy isn't always a bad word at Christmas.