I put up my Christmas tree last Friday. That is the earliest I have ever done that. I put Christmas candles (electric) in the windows, too. Why? I’m really not sure. It might be because I think that the end of the world via the worst theories inspired by the Mayan prophecies will cause the twelve days of Christmas to be non-existent this year. No, that’s not it. Maybe I have been scarred by the merchant portion of our society that moves the season of Christmas spirit to an earlier place in the calendar every year, but I don’t think so.
For a great deal of my life I was of the opinion that the twelve days of Christmas was a pretty good way to celebrate the holiday. My wife and I used to put our tree up on Christmas Eve and take it down on January Sixth. I thought that worked pretty well and carried that tradition on for years. Our friends had their own ideas and the season saw trees being set up and decorated at all times. For most of our friends it was whenever they had time. The commercial establishments, as I mentioned before, made their own rules. The earliest I ever saw Christmas displays was one day when I stopped into a store near Meadville PA on the day after Labor Day and found them being installed. I wasn’t a resident of the Meadville area so I never had the opportunity of finding out whether the store’s merchandising efforts were successful or not.
On the other end of things, the longest I ever heard of a Christmas tree being left up was when a friend of ours had an argument with her husband. She wanted him to take the tree down and he procrastinated. If he didn’t take it down, she vowed, she certainly would not. The tree stayed up, I recall, until June. I don’t remember who finally did take it down. I guess someone did. Maybe it was the new owner of the house after the divorce. As far as other Christmas decorations go, I believe another record was set by a neighbor of ours. After going to the trouble of putting outdoor lights on the eaves of his house, he left them there. He simply installed a switch for convenience in following years.
But back to the question of why I put my tree up so early, I’ve been trying to puzzle that out as I’ve been writing this piece and I really haven’t reached any conclusions. Perhaps I just felt like it—felt like enjoying them. I can watch the blues, greens, reds and yellows of the lights glitter as I walk past or look up at them from a book or magazine. I just felt like doing that this year. I’ll take the tree down in accord with my old schedule. I’ll do that on twelfth night. And as for why I put the tree up for December first? Why not? After all, is five weeks or so too long to enjoy something?