Sunday, December 10, 2006

Spirit of Christmas

I’m allergic to cedar, so we’ve always had a fake Christmas tree which means that it could go up at any time and be left up for a while. But when I was growing up, Mother wouldn’t let us put it up until around the 15th of December; she and dad would have it “defrocked” and dismantled on Christmas Day. When I got older and took over decorating I could sometimes talk her into letting me do it the day after Thanksgiving, but it still had to be taken down as close to Christmas as she could get it. That changed after I returned home from college (the second time) – up the day after Thanksgiving, taken down the day after New Years. I was now totally in charge of the Christmas tree. Decorating the tree became my obsession. The grand-kids would try to help and I’d shoo them away – everything had to be just right, which is funny if you’ve ever seen my study. I’m not known for being obsessive about any kind of decorating feature. Much. One year I threatened to leave it up all year long – I’d read somewhere about people who decorated the tree for each holiday and sounded like a good thing to me, except I couldn’t find any New Years, MLK, Valentine’s Day, Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Halloween, or Thanksgiving ornaments. Just a small problem (this was before I had a credit card and significant internet access). So the tree went down on schedule, not to return until the next season. I think it was because I wanted to hold on to the season, the feelings that come with Christmas. I came to realize that that sentiment, that euphoria is something you carry inside – not the tree or lights, or the manger scene that my grandmother made. The magic of Christmas is the magic of belief, wonder – the enchantment of Santa, goodwill towards men, and giving. Do you know that more food is given to food banks at this time of year than any other time? Why is that? Aren’t there starving people all year long? And yet it is only at Christmas that we think of this. You see the little red buckets and give, but do you contribute to the Salvation Army at any other time of the year? If you’re me, you don’t. I never think about it. I’m going to change that. Sometime in the middle of 2007 I’m going to take stuff to the food bank and send some money to the Salvation Army. I’m going to carry the “Spirit of Christmas” with me all year long. That’s the only way I can make it last.

P.S. The computer likes me today ...

9 comments:

Brandy said...

I am all for the spirit of Christmas, but we've always put our tree up around the 15th and taken it down on New Year's Eve. We also use a real tree even though Dh and I are sort of allergic to them. As for giving, yes we give more at Christmas, but our church also has a poor box and each sunday as we are leaving I put a little something extra in there, because the money is used to operate a bag luch all year long for the homeless in our area. I also give a dollar each time I go to the pet store, for the Humane Society. I look at it like this. If everyone thinks that 'next time' thry'll give something, nothing is ever given and that even a little bit is better than nothing. I like your idea and think that you're right. We all think of giving only at one time a year. Thanks for the reminder that we need to give more than once a year!

Oh, adn am very glad the computer likes you today!

Brandy said...

(excuse the typos, please!!)

Deana said...

I think in the summer time when we are playing and laughing it up on vacations we do forget the giving spirit by human nature. It is a good idea to take the time to give then as well. I like the way our grocery store keeps bags out of food all year that you buy and donate right then. It helps me remember that people are hungry in warm weather too, not just the cold.
I started some volunteer work this week too hoping that will force me to not take things for granted!
I am allergic to cedar too! It would make me so nauseous with all the pooring water in my head! But I can use the frasier firs....only cedar bothers me.

Bailey Stewart said...

Brandy - that's a good thing that your church is doing. I'm very guilty of only thinking about giving at Christmas time. I'm going to try to be better in the coming year.

Deana - I don't know of any grocery store around here that does that - wonderful idea. You're right, we get caught up in the "fun" of summer and tend to forget. I know that for myself, winter was always the hardest for my father (he was a carpenter), so I tend to think in that direction. I'm going to shift that thinking.

Meretta said...

I love Christmas. Once when DH was peacekeeping in Bosnia and his leave was in November, I had the Christmas tree already up at Halloween. The Trick or Treaters loved it.

Devon Ellington said...

I usually decorate on the first of Advent (first Sunday after Thanksgiving), and it all stays up until Twelfth Night -- has to come down that day, or it's bad luck. There's a supserstition that you'll break something for every ornament you forget to put away.

I work with several different charities throughout the year, so I try to keep up "the spirit of giving" -- not as much as I'd like, but I try.

Lis said...

When the tree goes up varies, its been as early as middle of November (like last year) or as late as Christmas Eve. But it can't come down until the three kings show up in January (plus its still up for my birthday on the 3rd *g*)

I think the one charity we donate to throughout the year is the foodbank. I know sometimes dad buys an extra few cases of things at costco then drops them off on the way home. :)

Yay on the compie!

catslady said...

It just ate my blog grrrrr.

I always get a live tree. I have a small tree trimming/dinner party, Usually the week before Christmas and I keep it up for a month more or less depending on how many needles fall off lol.

I probably gave more when my kids were involved at school or scouts, etc. A couple times a year groups collect for the foodbank door to door which is nice. I guess I need to see or hear about it or I don't think of it. And cold weather does make you think about it more too.

Susie said...

I like to keep the tree up through Jan 6, Epiphany, the 12th day of Xmas.