The Old Debate Begins Yet Again

I had the same argument last year, resolved it then, but it’s back again now.

It’s all about a Christmas tree: do I want one – or not? If my answer is affirmative, then I must continue: real or phony? Tall or short?

So many questions. So much to think about.

My mind still entertains images of dancing sugarplums, happy family Christmastimes of many, many years ago. Now we’re scattered, erasing any temptation to gather as COVID-19 continues to dictate so many of our choices. (Actually, am I the only one who finds the rules becoming increasingly stringent?)

Of course that can’t stop me from having a tree – large, decorated to the point there isn’t a space for one more ornament. Really. Sometimes it’s been in that corner. Other times? Over there. The electric train set sits ready to be employed in a circle beneath it.

And the smell! Not pine but fir though my parents always preferred the shapeless hemlock. That tree-smell alone makes rising extra early to come – hurry! – enjoy!

Are those mornings the best? Or the evenings once it’s grown dark and the fire snaps while candles on the table shimmer brightly. Who can resist?

Just yesterday I told my youngest my best dream would be to have someone get a tree, set the tree up, decorate it (or at least bring all the boxes down from the attic) — and then make it all go away once New Year’s Day and the bowl games have passed.

Still . . . do I truly need all that to enjoy the season? What I treasure most – and need the most to get in the mood – is the marvelous music of the season. WNED-FM has been really great about that. I look forward to it again.

Do I then truly want a tree in my house? Dave Barry once wrote about the family going out to get their Christmas moose. Yup, moose. Once selected, it was tied to the roof of the car to be brought home. Inside, the struggle ensued as one had to get it in the moose stand and perfectly aligned. The happy family congratulated themselves at dinner when a terrible crash interrupted their festivities. The moose – as these things seem to want to do – had fallen over. Sincerely, I’m with Dave. I have no need for such hoopla. I have a lovely lighted tree for my table – and, come to think of it, a larger (yes, fake) tree I decorated once it was placed on the coffee table. I recall the year I said “all done” and only half the lights came on. It’s taken little reflection to realize that added little to my joys. Just more work than I’m in the mood for now. (Gads, am I getting that old? Or is it simply laziness?) Perhaps. I can promise you there isn’t a tinge of Scrooge in my thoughts.

That big clunky tree offered none of the Christmas scent I hungered for. Maybea some of my candles will come close. What did – perfectly – was the balsam swag I hung on the front door (inside) last year. I kept it up almost until June – it looked cheery to me, surprisingly never dried out and the thing was real – and it pleased me. That’s a must: wreath or swag? Hardly matters as long as it lasts and smells so good. Let me put the artificial one (which is very nice) outdoors. Why waste the pleasure when nobody can smell it?

COVID-19 has really put the skids on holiday planning. No visitors from out of state can come. Unless things change far more quickly than anyone anticipates, church may be a bleak affair without communion which is what makes it real for me.

And, candidly, Molly wakes me up far early enough. I’m happy with that.

And a huge Christmas feast? For whom? I’ll do something nice but behave moderately.

Know what? I’m going to do precisely what I did last year.

It was a perfect Christmas.

Susan Crossett has lived in Arkwright for more than 20 years. A lifetime of writing led to these columns as well as two novels. Her Reason for Being was published in 2008 with Love in Three Acts following in 2014. Information on all the Musings, her books and the author may be found at Susancrossett.com.


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