On September 4, 2016, at 1:13 a.m. I was awake enough to type this note on my phone: “Was suddenly hit with the realization that once I move out of the house, I won’t be able to see the Christmas tree at home. That I’ll have to come home to celebrate.”
It is, I understand, a luxury to be able to appreciate a decorated Christmas tree. However, it was a luxury with which I had grown up. Ever since my brother and I were old enough to recognize the significance of Christmas and the gifts, joy, and same old Mickey Mouse and friends Christmas cassette tape it brought, we convinced our parents to put up our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving.
I use the words “put up” for a reason; we have an artificial tree. It’s easier to manage, saves my mom the hassle of vacuuming up fallen pine needles over the course of a month, and is cheaper.
An artificial tree is still a tree all the same though, and when you grow up having an artificial tree, it’s the only type of Christmas you know as an adult.
For my apartment, I dreamed big. I wanted to get a real tree, one that smelled of Christmas for a full month, and because I was a small person with a small car, I would just get a (you guessed it) small tree. It would be perfect.
Then my parents called me to warn me about the falling pine needles, and the bugs, and the pine needles that would also get all over my car when I brought it home. Small potatoes for many people, I know, but for me, these were all big deals. I am a notorious neat freak to the point where my landlord comments on it each time he sees my roommate and my apartment, and even my roommate’s mom notices how my clean habits have rubbed off on my roommate. It is a thing.
In other words, my parents’ warnings convinced me to not get a real tree before I was even finished with my workout at the gym. During that time, I also managed to have enough time to send many deep apologies to Candle Boy, who had already bought me a live Christmas tree stand, which I was now asking to return.
The quest to finding an artificial tree was not, however, easier than the prospect of finding a real tree. Perhaps this happened in part because I made the entire process this difficult for myself, but there was also an utter dearth of good artificial trees in the area. OSH was only selling online, Home Depot was out of stock in my area, Target’s selection was limited, and the list goes on.
I am almost 24, but my parents basically saved the day. They texted me for almost a week straight, notifying me every time they received an ad in the mail, heard an advertisement on the radio, or saw a commercial on TV that spoke of artificial Christmas trees being sold in our local area. (I am convinced that this is at least one example of the epitome of a parent’s love for their child.)
Thanks to them, I found a Christmas tree of the perfect size and for a great price, and also stumbled upon other wonderful holiday finds for my newfound tree, all in one fell swoop. (Shout out to Michael’s and their extensive holiday sale.)
I know lots of folks who don’t quite understand my great passion for Christmas, don’t peg me as being a Christmas aficionado, and assume that I am simply riding the commercial capitalist bandwagon when December rolls around.
The third point, I cannot contest. I do become a fantastic consumer in the months of November and December, that much is true.
Christmas, on the other hand, is not just a holiday. It’s memories; it’s family; it’s warmth, comfort, sharing, and giving.
Last Christmas was the first holiday season I celebrated as a non-student, and I commemorated it by donating to a small number of charities and causes I wanted to support. It was also the year I decided that I would do this for every year following, because if I was able to enjoy the holiday in a way that others were unable to access, then I should give to support those people.
My little Christmas tree is, yes, a luxury, but it is also something that reminds me of the memories that have shaped the way I celebrate the holiday season now. It reminds me to be grateful for my family and my friends, and everything I am able to have and enjoy.
Also, I have not yet chosen the charities/causes I would like to donate to this year. If you know of any causes or folks who are in much need of support, that might not be on my radar, please send their info my way.