Long, long ago, the real evergreen tree for Christmas was only green for about a week with good watering, at least in dryer climates and houses. And there was the worry of the tree lighting on fire (but that was with those old higher watt Christmas Tree lights). I will never forget my little sister sitting up with a start in the middle of the night and sleep talking, ‘Don’t forget to water the Christmas Tree!’ (amongst other things less coherent) before she dropped back into slumbers. I am fine with giving my friends with the tree farms my business, but I still felt bad about ‘killing’ a poor little tree (that took so long to get so big) and keeping it for so short a time (and then just throwing it out afterwards!). I liked the idea of buying a tree with its root intact (when that started to become possible), but planting a tree after Christmas is over in the middle of winter is not always easy or feasible and the tree might die anyway. The faux Christmas Tree opened the door to putting the tree up earlier and earlier every year. I do think I’d like to start planting a Christmas Tree in the yard every fall. We need more trees.
Hubby didn’t quite want to get with my program of putting the tree up at least weeks to a month before Christmas (because the Christmas Tree traditionally went up about a week before Christmas and came down on ‘Boxing Day’, the day after Christmas), but of course my kids and grandkids could be depended upon to put the tree up earlier and earlier each year. One year we put the tree up the day after Halloween and that was grand. Another year we had an early Christmas before Halloween with a little tree that became my ‘Seasonal Tree’ in the entryway. It’s still there in all its skinny six foot glory.
Since reading and watching so much in the way of Jane Austen, and all her mentions of Michaelmas, I had to learn about that (Scottish and then also English) holiday. That fall feast of Michael and all the angels seems a wonderful excuse to me to put the Christmas Tree up and start decorating for Christmas especially early. I keep threatening to start the Christmas Season or at least the Holiday Season with Michaelmas ‘next year’. Yes, I want to plant a Michaelmas Tree next year. Yes, I am pretty eccentric. I dance to the beat of my own Holiday drum.
Some people just don’t like Christmas starting earlier and earlier, with the ‘commercial’ side of Christmas as the main reason I guess; but to me, it’s about other things than the materialisms of the holiday season. I love to start playing and singing the Christmas Carols early, and in fact, some of us in our house enjoy those songs all the year round, especially the old traditional and Celtic instrumentals. I have garnered a vast Christmas CD collection by this point in time. Most musical artists only get me to consider buying from them with their holiday album. The lights, the tree, and the red, white and green décor are also wonderful to me. And then there are our favorite Christmas movies that we like to watch every year. I love the spirit of Christmas and love it all to begin as early as can be.
And then, of course, I tend to get into the spirit of giving which is the true spirit of Christmas, I would say. Way back in the day when I seemed to sew, make and bake everything from scratch myself, I actually started making things the first of the year in preparation for the following Christmas, only to end in still being up into the middle of the night sewing or painting or whatever, trying to get those last things under the tree before anyone was up to check to see what Santa had brought them. Yes, I went overboard then, and I have tried to simplify what I do every year since those days of overdoing it. One of the ways I have always tried to keep Christmas simple, or at least easier on me as a Mom and Grandma, is to start everything early. I make and bake far less than I used to, but I still like to start decking the halls early so I can kick back and relax so to really enjoy the Christmas Season. Oops! I haven’t hung the stockings yet! Gotta go get to that now! The grandkids are coming soon!
Merry Christmas shopping, decorating, listening, watching, hugging, smiling, and relaxing!