The Tossing of the Christmas Tree

It’s sort of like the running of the bulls, only safer, less cruel, and much more satisfying.

It’s no secret I’m not a big fan of Christmas.  In an effort to prevent wet-blanketing everyone else’s holiday this year, I tried really hard to express an acceptable amount of spirit.  I did pretty good, if I do say so myself.

But nothing and no one can stop the fierce joy I experience the day after Christmas.  I was as excited this morning as the kids were yesterday.  Here’s how it goes: I pull off the ornaments, wrap them, and pack them up.  I pack up the few decorations that were placed out (not by me, but by The Grandmother, who only pretends to be a Grinch.)  The I carry the tree outside to take the lights off, because at this point even changes in barometric pressure cause needles to cascade down by the millions.  I sweep up the floor, clean the window where the tree was sitting, and then go outside for the ceremony.

I pull off the lights, and my mood gets lighter and lighter–I was singing “Zip-a-dee-doo-dah” by the time I pulled the last strand free.  Then the stand comes off, and I drag the tree to the top of the hill above where all branches, sticks, and various yard wastes get tossed.  I take a deep breath, hoist the tree up over my head, and then throw it as hard I can down over the hill.

Oh Christmas tree, indeed.

In all seriousness (well, as much as usual, anyway) I’ve done quite a bit of psychoanalysis during this holiday season.  I don’t remember exactly when my view of Christmas turned so sour.  There are some things I do know.  For example, I think a major factor is my (not so) mild OCD.  I thrive on my routine.  I am happiest when things are where I want them to be.  When this time of year rolls around, all of that gets thrown into chaos.  The tree has to be worked into the plan, so to speak–plants and furniture have to be shifted around to make it work.  The window is blocked and can’t be cleaned.  The Grandmother sits cutesy little decorations around on various surfaces.  In short, junk, mess, and clutter.  Then there’s the tree.

I have tried every conceivable method of preserving the tree.  I don’t put it up very early–Dec. 11th this year–but still, by the time Christmas rolls around, needles are dropping off almost constantly.  I can hear them falling, and each little clack is like a death knell in mind.  Over and over and over and over.  When I took it out today, I could literally just snap branches off with my fingers.  Plus it had lost that lovely color–it was a sort of green-ish yellow generally found in battle-field hospital tents.  Even though I take the lights off outside, I still leave an inch-thick trail of needles from the window out the front door.  There are needles all down in the threshold, and don’t even get me started about the window sill.  People are sometimes shocked that I take things down so early, and they always tell me how they leave things up until after the new year, but if I left that thing up until then, it would just be the skeleton of a Christmas tree with a pile of needles under it.

Now that everything is packed away, I feel such a sense of relief.  Everything is reasonably neat and tidy, and things are where they are supposed to be.  As I sit here and write this, I can look over and see out the window with nothing impeding my view.  The floor is clean, the window is clean, the tree is over the hill, and my mind is calm.

Think of it this way–that tree is now providing nutrients to the soil, and a home to some little woodland creatures.  That’s why I do it.  Because I care about nature.

Right.

 

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like………Mental Illness

Whoever said this was the most wonderful time of the year was obviously smoking crack.

I mean, God help you if you have to go to the store for some normal, non-Christmas-related item.  You might be there to get milk, but Redneck Rita will cut you if she thinks you’re going to grab one of the 40 inch TV’s she stood in line to buy four of.

 

I don’t know how much attention you paid to the news the morning after Black Friday, but violence in various forms broke out across the country as people sought out the fantastic deals.  Lines stretched for hours, and people literally trampled other people to get in the doors when they opened.  They trampled other living, breathing human beings to buy a G.D. television set and Rock N Roll Elmo Doll!  Then someone wants to talk to me about Christmas spirit?  There is no such thing as Christmas spirit.  There’s buy me a present spirit, and I bought a nicer gift than you spirit, and this isn’t what I asked for spirit, and of course the I didn’t get what I wanted so now I’m disappointed spirit. 

In case you haven’t picked up on it, this is not my favorite time of year.  I’m a Halloween person.  St. Patrick’s day is okay.  Oh, and July 4th is fun–you get to blow stuff up.  I also like Earth Day and Arbor Day. 

But you can keep Christmas.  If there was some sort of pill I could take that would allow me to sleep until after New Years, I’d take it–kind of like Rip Van Winkle.  The main problem is, Christmas starts earlier and earlier each year, so eventually I’d only be awake for, say, six days in May.  Hallmark started playing Christmas movies–you know, the sickening, sappy, oh isn’t everything just wonderful and all of our problems are magically cured by wishing on the Christmas tree type of movie–the second week of November.  Bah.

 

To quote my green friend, “I don’t want to make waves here, but this whole Christmas season is stupid, stupid, STUPID!”  It’s the one time of year when it’s perfectly acceptable to be completely consumed by the love of material things.  I mean, more than usual.  Why do you decorate your house?  To show up your neighbors.  If you don’t buy your kids the expensive electronic stuff, then people think you suck as a parent, and your kids secretly think so too.  You actually tell people what to buy you!  Think about that!  What’s the point of giving a gift?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as guilty as anyone in this area, and I understand it.  You have no idea what to buy people, and why?  Because we already have more stuff than any person could conceivably need even if they lived until the end of time.  So we tell each other what to buy.  Merry Christmas.

Then there’s family.  Why go through the trouble of getting together with people who you never see, never talk to, and who secretly don’t like you anyway?  You get together, over-eat, then part ways for another year and talk about each other.  Ho ho ho!

I have absolutely no trouble whatsoever understanding why more people commit suicide during the holidays than any other time of the year.  I always think of Chris Farley (if you don’t know who that is, get a life.)  In the movie “Tommy Boy,”  his character finally freaks out because of stress and says, “Every time I drive down the road, I wanna jerk the wheel into a Goddamn bridge abutment!” 

 

Right.

The saddest part is that you can’t escape it.  Christmas movies, Christmas music, Christmas decorations–it’s everywhere you go.  It’s so inundating that I even catch myself humming Christmas music–me, the Grinch’s grandmother, humming Christmas music! 

I’m going to quit before I totally depress myself.  Maybe another cup of coffee will help.  Maybe I’ll go take a nap.

Wake me up after the New Year.

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