‘Not gonna do it!’


Yesterday was trash pickup day and the last day to get your Christmas tree disposed of for free. It’s a conspiracy. Apparently the city thinks you should be done with Christmas by now, but I’m not giving in. I’ll just have to use one of my two annual free bulky item pick-up days. I’m not bending under the pressure. They can’t make me. You should have seen our street yesterday. It was a Christmas tree burial site. Brian’s tree across the street was brown already — all the green drained from its needles. It was shameful. It should have been covered. No respect for the dead. At least our tree is not brown yet. True, the tips of some of its branches are starting to curl under, but that only makes it look like it’s being weighed down by invisible snow.

I’m not going to be intimidated by my neighborhood. Our tree is still up; our lights are still burning in the window. We just never got to enjoy Christmas this year. December is simply the busiest time of the year for the Catch. We never got to sit down and just enjoy the tree until our anniversary on January 4. It’s quite often that way with us. January 4 was a great day to get married, but not good for anniversaries. We’re spent by then. Money’s spent. Energy is spent. Everything’s spent. That’s when we build a fire, collapse in front of it and notice that there is a tree growing in our living room. How did that get there? Well, would you look at how beautiful that is?

It’s for this reason that anniversary gifts over the years are few and far between. “Don’t I at least get a small souvenir for sticking with you for 44 years?” said Marti as we enjoyed our tree for the first time. I did get her a card, though. It was the perfect card for us. Usually I have to use a blank card and write in it because none of the anniversary messages work for us. But this one had a picture of funky boots next to high heels, with the following message inside:

We may have different stylesimg_1573

But we’ll always be a perfect pair

I love that and I love you

Happy Anniversary

It was the easiest card I’ve ever done. I only had to underline “I love you,” and sign it. That was it.

So that’s why we’re keeping the tree up. We simply haven’t had a chance to enjoy it, and it still looks great.

I took a walk around the neighborhood last night and found a couple of other neighbors still holding out. One of them is Brian across the street. They must have had two trees, because he’s the one with the brown tree out front yesterday, but there’s still a tree standing lit up in their front room. It might be artificial, but at least it’s still up. Way to go Brian! There’s also a house further up the street with its outside lights still on. I have yet to meet those folks, but I’m thinking about forming a coalition of diehards.

There really ought to be a precedent set for a longer season. It makes sense. It takes so much work to get down all the boxes from the attic, open everything up, decide what you want to put up this year and where, and then close up the boxes and put them back up in the attic. And then, when it seems like you just did this yesterday, you have to do it all again in the reverse, and everything goes back up, and suddenly it’s like nothing ever happened. Well something did happen: Jesus the Christ, the son of the living God, was born on earth to human parents, that He might atone for the sins of the whole world and be the first fruits of a new race of people free from sin and free to serve and love God for eternity, and His arrival that we celebrate at Christmas made all that possible.

Any excuse to celebrate the coming of the Messiah anytime is worthy of the effort.

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12 Responses to ‘Not gonna do it!’

  1. Molly Durden says:

    I wish it last longer, too. But am so very thankful that “something did happen.”

  2. Cindy says:

    Our tree is still up too! We put it up late and I want to enjoy it a little longer. Also my husband and my anniversary is Dec 27th which is also really a hectic day. We didn’t do much this year but enjoy each other’s company. At least we own a business and work together so we were together all day. We got married in the church we still attend 29 years ago and every year it looks almost the same in the sanctuary which is a nice way to remember our wedding. I try to celebrate Christmas long past when everyone else does.

  3. drewdsnider says:

    We, too, still have our tree up — partly because we, too, have had little time to enjoy it. We were on vacation until the 20th, then I was working fairly steadily from the 21st through Jan. 2, and, well, you can’t get rid of the tree before Twelfth Night, can you? We did make a feeble attempt to start taking things down on Sunday — the 6th — as in, we pulled out the bags and storage boxes. But Amelia said, “Do you want to have some more moments with the tree?” as if I was about to walk The Last Mile, so the tree is still up and the storage boxes are still out and yesterday, I watered it to reduce/eliminate the potential fire hazard. Time of removal is now TBD. Thing is, I was raised to believe that it was bad luck to get rid of the Christmas tree before Twelfth Night, but Christmas is about celebrating the One who removed the need to worry about “luck”, good or bad … just sayin’.

  4. Sandie says:

    When I was a young child I got to celebrate two Christmases. My mom was Roman Catholic, and my dad was raised raised Greek Catholic or Orthodox. The Greek calendar celebrated their holiday about 1 week or so later, if I recall. By the time we took our poor tree down, all it took was a mere ‘walkby’ to hear needles fall…a definite fire hazard back when the tree lights got so hot you got a good burn if they were left on too long. I have now labeled myself as officially old!
    However, the tree we took down last week was still fresh and pliant; hardly any needle fall. It could have been up at least two more weeks! I especially love the lights in the dark living room!
    In retrospect though, I’m glad we did un-decorate…considering we have decisions to make about our dog’s physical condition.
    Hoping the magic and joy of Christmas touched you all in a special way – and that you carry that special ‘touch’ throughout the coming year. The world needs it.

  5. Priscilla says:

    John, your tree must be a Fraser Fir!
    Priscilla Fraser

  6. Mark D Seguin says:

    Excuse me Pastor John could be wrong, I often can be, yet because of Marti telling this in an email the other day: “…but after an exceptionally exhausting December, we took a bit of a break from the computer and phones for a week and are just returning yesterday.” So I am I understanding this correctly after taking a full week off you find it too hard to take down your Christmas tree & lighting?

    Comparing that to asking people to fund your Ministry that work a full time job & I can easily imagine they didn’t get a full week of for the Holiday….then try & use the birth of our Savoir as an excuse for a longer break – I personal find offensive to such laziness!

    I hope & pray there is something I am simply not seeing or understand, because as it stands – I think it stinks to High Heaven!!!

  7. John A Fagliano says:

    I actually can’t relate to you John, since I never leave my Christmas decorations up into the new year. But I like your approach better than that of the department stores and other retailers. I think we are all very familiar with the routine:

    On January 2nd Valentine’s Day decorations go up. On February 15th it’s time to get ready for St. Patrick’s Day and Easter. The day after Easter it’s Mother’s Day. As soon as that’s over it’s Graduations and Father’s Day. Right after Father’s Day it’s time for back to school sales. The day after Labor Day, Halloween decorations go up and on November 1st, it’s Christmas.

    It’s like they’re always rushing us into the next Holiday without giving us time to breathe after the last one. But what an insane way to celebrate! There is this long, long anticipation of just one 24 hour period and as soon as it’s over, it’s to be quickly forgotten about!

    I find your defiance in leaving up your tree to be counter-cultural and I like that. However I won’t be putting my Christmas decorations back up any time soon. I just like the idea of not forgetting the miracle we celebrated and reflecting on it long after December 25th.

  8. Keith Blundell says:

    I remember many many years ago going to Church were the minister held a Carol Service on the Sunday following New Year on the premise that the run-up to Christmas was to short for the sentiments in the music and words to be embraced.

  9. Here’s a slight variation on the conclusion of a popular Christmas story:

    He hadn’t stopped Christmas from leaving! It stayed!
    Somehow or other, it stayed just the same!

    He puzzled and puzzed till his puzzler was sore.
    Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.

    Maybe Christmas, he thought, isn’t stuff we display.
    Maybe Christmas, perhaps, is how we live every day!

    And what happened then? Well, in Whoville they say
    That the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day!

    And then the true meaning of Christmas came through,
    And the Grinch found the strength of ten Grinches, plus two!

    Welcome Christmas. Bring your cheer,
    Cheer to all Whos, the entire year.

    Christmas Day is in our grasp
    So long as we have hands to grasp.

    Christmas Day will always be
    Just as long as we have we.

    Welcome Christmas while we stand
    Heart to heart and hand in hand.

    • Sandie says:

      What a message for today…for every day for sure, but the atmosphere in our government and society in general, needs this so badly.

  10. Elizabeth says:

    I am so glad to read of your Christmas Tree duration this year. There was a time when you wrote about feeling the need (and obeying that feeling) to get everything down by Jan 1.

    To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven:
    A time to clear out early, and a time to let Christmas last longer

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