It has been a hectic holiday season here at Chez Duck, but my perfect, beautiful, slim cashmere pine (which I bought on clearance last year for $69!) has given me nothing but joy. To glance at my tree — red balls reflecting hundreds of tiny white lights, trimmed with a perfect spiral of gold ribbon — is to have a moment of pure Christmas peace. I am not ready to say goodbye.
Unlike our last artificial tree, this new one is compact and easy to carry up the basement stairs. It has no shedding needles. There are no lights to untangle — the tree is pre-lit. Setup was accomplished in less than an hour; we sipped eggnog and listened to the Chipmunks Chrismas album while we decorated together as a family. Fa la la la la and hear the angels sing.
My family tradition was always to put the tree up the day after Thanksgiving, and take it down on New Year’s Day. My husband, on the other hand, grew up waiting till the last minute to put up the tree, and taking it down sometime in the beginning of January — usually around Epiphany. In an effort to be a thoroughly modern blended family, we put the tree up early and take it down late. This works for most of my neighbors, who believe decorating for Christmas in the City of Bethlehem should actually qualify as an Olympic sport. So we’re good.
But Epiphany is almost here, and with it, time to pack up the tree. Even though I only put out minimal decorations this year — the tree, a bit of garland on the staircase, our stockings and an Advent wreath — I know when I pack them up, the house will feel forlorn. We’ll rattle around like a handful of frozen peas in a dark freezer. And I don’t want that.
Besides, the New Year should start with some sparkle and shine. So maybe I’ll leave the tree up just a bit longer.