Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Why no tree?

Second day of Christmas: blogged, played phone ap games, read magazines and was very very lazy by the fire all d.
Third day of Christmas: vacuumed and cleaned a house that was the worse for wear with all the baking, guests and busy busy since Thanksgiving. The fun part of the day: Getting Indian take out and having a Bollywood movie night at Jeff's house. Jeff and Rachel are masters of the snark, and had me laughing at their asides about the movie until I had tears running out my eyes.

Fourth Day of Christmas: I'll be going out to snow shoe, and maybe kill a few more "to dos' from my lists of fun and work to be done during my vacation.  Only three more "work" items on  the list of 14 though...ever notice how routine house and life work never takes a holiday?

The picture above: Let me explain.  We had  no Christmas tree this year.
Baby kittens at home=you've got to be kidding me if you think a tree is going to happen in my house.
The last time we had a kitten we were using an artificial tree and  our little Melville happily raced up and down it, and perched for hours in its branches.
People would come over and about have a heart attack when Mel would suddenly decide to jump down out of the tree.
It was so much fun....
A real tree wouldn't provide quite so much hilarity, and since Laura now owns our artificial tree, we skipped it this year.
My tree preference has ranged from miniture bonsai in an apartment to a table top sized tree to TWO ceiling scrapers (one on each floor) and believe me, I have the ornaments to do two trees proud. 
One year I think we even had three, with one small bedroom tree with crystal and white ornaments from our wedding as a way to celebrate our December anniversary.
As a December bride who worked at a crafts center, I had boxes of ornament from the very beginning.
When I was a teen, I even had a one foot tall tree in my bedroom that I carefully decorated with delicate ornaments.
This year I wanted to simplify.  I chose to just place a fresh cedar garland over our sliding glass patio door, fresh greens on the mantel and a fresh green wreath decorated with strung cranberries.
Then I add something else...which I will share about another day...
I found I didn't miss having a tree at all.  The other greens added all the Christmas-y scent that I longed for.
Then Vicki and Doc sent me an article about how atheists view Christmas.
(Upshot: the atheists celebrate  Christmas too...just not the Jesus part.)
The part of the article that really made my eyes open wide and my mouth fall open was the link to US.gov concerning the reason why Christmas is a legal US holiday.

From the link above:

Christmas has been a federal holiday since 1870. The explanation offered on the government website America.gov is that the holiday “began to honor universal values such as home, children and family life, and to incorporate secular customs like exchanging gifts and cards, and the decoration of evergreen trees.”

If our government has decided that Christmas is about decorating evergreen trees without a word about the birth of my Savior, then I am thinking I might as a Christian be wise to avoid the tree thing all together until they get it right.
Not that I think for a moment that they will get it right, short of the Second Coming that is.
I do know historically that my Puritan ancestors fined people who celebrated Christmas, as the "merry" part of Christmas basically translated as "get wasted and go have flings at will" in the Merry Old England of the day.

US congress used to meet on Christmas right up until the 1870; the "thumbs down" on Christmas celebrations stuck around for nearly 200 years.  

Am I being a bit dour here?

Not at all.  In fact, I am actually celebrating Christmas for 12 days.  Gifts are still being opened, carols sung, and this year I am being blessed by Sara's coverage of the 12 days of Christmas on her blog.

Today is the 4th day of Christmas.  It is "The Feast of the Innocents".
Remember what happened right after Jesus was born and wise men came bearing gifts?

If you don't, you should.   It is quite sobering to think about.  Read Sara's post about it HERE and let it fill our mind and heart, and move us beyond the ever thickening crust of popular thinking. 

The renewing of my mind is a task that I often neglect.  Perhaps I should add it to my Christmas season "to do" list along with going through paper piles and straightening out the Marley room.

I do have one regret about not having a Christmas tree this year: Now we can't engage in the Texas tradition of blowing the thing up with firecrackers on New Years Day.

It may not be mentioned in the Bible, but I think that's a Christmas tradition the Baby Boy Jesus would have really, really enjoyed.


ellen b. said...

I am not letting the "boys" in my house read about the blowing up tree part! When I read Sara's blog this morning I realized how I force that part of the story out of my mind where Herod kills all those little baby boys. Hard to get your head around. Enjoy all the days of Christmas at your house!!

Lovella ♥ said...

I thought about how we continue to change our ways as our circumstances change. I think the fresh green garland might just the be perfect way to add a Christmas touch without putting up the tree.
Our tree has now safely made it to the shop where it is looking ever so green.

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

May favorite part about a tree is the wonderful scent...but we have had a tree only once in the past decade that I can remember...not a lot of room here, and I don't have all that many ornaments anymore. We usually buy a fresh wreath for the scent.

If you really enjoy a tree you should get one (once the kitties become older and more sedate---does that ever happen?)...I remember reading somewhere comparisons of Christ and how a tree can be a symbol of faith, though I can't remember the details anymore...

Thanks for the link to my blog!