Another icon has fallen. A symbol of family, unity, and togetherness has toppled unceremoniously, its scattered remnants boxed and carted away. It was a glorious pyre, sending its wondrous and shining message of hope into the darkest night. It was my Christmas tree, and it came down today.
You know, I never understood those families that put their tree up on Thanksgiving and had it down the day after Christmas. They’re so organized, so regimented. My expressions of familial love can’t be boxed in like that, dispensed on a schedule and withdrawn because the due date has passed. I’m a free thinker. I’m a harbinger of love and peace, and cannot bear to see undone any symbolic gesture of said love and peace. I’m also kind of lazy.
I had really good intentions this year, though. I planned on taking it down before New Years. Then I told myself that Chinese New Years was still New Years, right? Then came February, and I was bristling with energy to pack the tree up, but I got kind of sidetracked by reruns of Good Eats on the Food Network…
But today... Today is Valentine's Day, and to show my love for my wife, I presented her with Season One of Downton Abbey on dvd (with special features and everything) and watched her go to work. Kind of. I was still in bed when she left, and I'd given her the dvd on Sunday, just so I wouldn't forget. Today, I gave the gift of myself--no roses, no candy, just a little effort and time in the living room.
I meticulously boxed the Hallmark© ornaments (which you must admit is the hardest part, cause you’ve gotta put them all back in the boxes and put the little papers and collector’s cards back in the boxes with them and make sure the boxes are all nice and neat and don’t get torn… It’s a special kind of hell, having a mother-in-law who manages a Hallmark© store…) and began the process of unwinding the silvery, shimmery garland. What began as the orderly disassembling of the tree quickly degraded into a grudge match between me, 100 feet of electric lights, a collapsible Christmas tree, and several thousand ornament hooks littered across the floor like a minefield.
A reasonable man would learn his lesson. A reasonable man would buy a real tree next year, relying on the fact that the dead tree will quickly dry and shed to prompt him to remove it from his home. I am not a reasonable man. I understand this. Such a tree would only become a fire hazard, or perhaps country folk art in my house.
Next year, I’m going to do the most reasonable thing I can think of: drape a sheet around the tree and build a closet around it.