So my neighbor congratulated me on celebrating the Christmas season right through Twelfth Night. All she could see was my tree through the front window.
I smiled and shamelessly thanked her, failing to tell her the real reason my tree was still up while every other decoration was long stowed away.
When my kids were little, I did occasionally celebrate the actual 12 days of Christmas, just to educate them on the Anglican Church calendar and a bit of history. Needing to buy and wrap 12 additional gifts, however, got old fast. The truth this year is that my lovely, but fake tree was still standing for other reasons.
First, it was tied firmly to the wall with a lovely moss-like wire left over from my daughter’s wedding decorations. It was tied to the wall because one leg of the tree stand had snapped off and it could not stand on its own. And the clever trick of securing it to the wall, rather than just jamming some bricks or something under it, was thanks to some brilliant friends.
After my daughter’s surgery (she’s doing well, thanks), Christmas dropped way, way down on the list, along with my energy to make it happen. But one delightful friend offered to put up my lights and tree. It was the best gift ever. My tree was heavy, dusty, in a giant bag, in the garage and rather tipsy.
I just stood back and marveled as my resourceful friend, and her smart and strong 20-something son, muscled that tree out and into the living room, swiftly solving the issue of it toppling immediately over. It was far more ambitious than anything I would have thought of. But New Year’s Day came and went and the replacement stand I ordered failed to arrive.
I was finally able to recruit my own visiting children to help me disassemble and pull the cover over the three-legged tree, and it is neatly stowed in the garage. It will, before next Christmas rolls around, have its new stand installed, I hope. I hate holiday mail.
Jean Gillette is a freelance writer happy to move on to the Lunar New Year. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.