Hello, my name is Karen and I'm a Christmastreeaholic.
It's January 24th and I still have my Christmas tree inside the house. Not only is it inside the house but it's glowing in full Christmas tree regalia - lights, decorations, action! I'm not even pretending that I'm going to take it down yet.
I know. I should be embarrassed. God knows my family is.
You, good seasonal people, have long disposed of any evidence of a Christmas tree. The angel has gone to bed, the ornaments are safely packed away, and the lights, at least the ones that still work, are all wrapped up and ready for their 11-month siesta a la Rip Van Winkle.
We buy our tree the day after Thanksgiving (that's November for you pioneers who don't track holidays). Getting the tree is a family event, although to call it a family vote is an exaggeration. It's more like a family hostage negotiation. We each have a candidate that we protect from other shoppers while we pitch the rest of the family about why our tree is the best. It's a little like Toastmasters, each person has an angle. After we think we have chosen a winner (and consequently 3 losers) Xav works some kind of side deal with the tree lot owner that almost always ends up sending the best - albeit completely different tree home. If we had any real sense we'd all sleep in the day after Thanksgiving and just let him take care of it, but the event of picking and getting something different is becoming a tradition.
As my kids have grown older they have come to terms with my love for the Christmas tree. Note that I do not say "my love of Christmas," which is totally on purpose, and well documented, even though it makes my Christian friends cringe visibly. No, I did not say it just because it makes them cringe. No, I did not.
Anyway, I love a good Christmas tree. The smell of it. The height of it. The way the branches of a nice silver fir are long and strong with lots of space between them. They allow each ornament to hang alone and catch the light. The tree musk fills the house with a forest scent and creates false memories of better days.
I am not a fan of the actual Christmas because my family, and I've said this before (maybe I say this every year) has a very nasty habit of dying around Christmastime. Grandfather, Grandmother, Grandfather, In-laws. I wish I was exaggerating. I'm sure you'll say it's a coincidence and maybe it is. But my people have a bad habit of disappearing into that good night during this cold season.
Icicles. Have I mentioned yet that I collect them? No, not the real ones. I'd have to have a lot more storage room in my freezer, and a smidgen more eccentricity to collect actual icicles. But icicles made of glass? Yes.
The only difference between glass icicles and real ones is price and temperature. Other than that, you can hardly tell them apart. This year I got a half dozen glass snowflakes to go with my vast icicle collection. It was perfect. There is something about the color of the tree, the gleam of the twinkle lights and dozens of clear glass icicles reflecting the Christmas light, that makes me happy.
This year I rearranged the furniture so that the dining room table is in front of the tree. The kids hated the arrangement and complained non-stop. "It doesn't feel like Christmas now. You can hardly see the tree. I like it the old way better."
But I loved it. With the dining room table next to the tree I could put my computer on the table and sit next to the tree all evening and get my work done, under the tree. It was perfect.
Of course, now that it's January we all know there is no way the recycling people are going to collect our tree. It's much too late and, truth be told, we never seem to follow their rules. "Put it out on the street by this date. Saw the tree into manageable bite-sized pieces. Who has a saw? Cut off the big branches so that our overpaid beavers will be able to easily chuck the whole thing into the wood chipper and we can sell the whole kit and caboodle back to the city as mulch." Do it or else.
Nope. We have a different plan that involves a midnight run, complete with loud music, a length of rope and a trailer hitch. The eager beavers from the Recology will find the tree in an easy-to-discover location and deal with it.
Just like they always do.