“Childless Adults Should Not Have Christmas Trees”
How could I not click on THAT link? I assumed the post would be somewhat tongue-in-cheek, partly because it was on Gawker (12/11/13), and partly because it was too bold a statement, obviously designed to attract clicks like mine.
But, reading Cord Jefferson’s charges that “‘Christmas Spirit’ is a marketing gimmick, and Christmas trees in contemporary society are for putting presents under”, I decided the opinions shared really might be his own.
I cannot relate.
Actually, Mr. Jefferson was responding to a merry essay by Gawkerista Caity Weaver (12/11/13) arguing the other point of view titled:
“Absolutely Everyone Should Have a Christmas Tree”
Both writers pretty much took religion out of the equation to address whether decorations, gifts, etc. exist only to bring happiness to children. From Ms. Weaver:
“You could argue that it’s silly for adults to want their years to be peppered with special days requiring cards and gifts, and you’d be right—it is silly. But it’s not pointless. Things that make you feel better—that give a little color to your days; that break up the monotony of everyday life—are not pointless.”
I agree with her, but find myself struggling for words to describe how magical Christmas is for me. I did not have an idyllic childhood, and at some point during many Christmas Days, my mother and or other relatives were drunk and screaming at each other. More Roseanne than The Cosby Show.
Gawker‘s dueling posts made me think long and hard about why I love Christmas so much, and joyfully give it so much of my energy, time and money. I keep God top of mind as often as possible, but I follow no organized religion while respecting them all. The only children in my life are my goddaughter and my step-niece; both are grown and gone. Other than family, my husband and I entertain at home about once a quarter. My first conclusion, as Pink says, was: So what?
Be sure to factor in that I married a guy who’s as pro-Christmas as me. Neither one of us is over-the-top about it (I worked for a woman who was, indeed, Ready for Reality TV with her holiday decorations. We are so not that level.)
This year, I heard thumping and bumping downstairs. He happily ta-da’ed the pre-lit artificial tree, in its stand awaiting more lights and as many ornaments as it could stand. It was finished a week later, a little bit each evening. We spend every evening, EVERY evening, in the light of the tree, talking and watching TV. And yeah, that’s it at top.
There is a tabletop tree in almost every room upstairs, including this neon find from Target (right) that’s in my office. My office, in fact, has two trees. There’s a small USB plug-in tree perpetually in my face (left). A favorite memory is when my much younger goddaughter declared that because of eucalyptus soap, “even my bathroom smelled like Christmas.”
Christmas lights perk up the darkness in a way that comes only once a year. I LOVE seeing Christmas lights at night in a neighborhood where people are challenged just to thrive any day. Ultimately, I believe that what Christmas does for me has less to do with Christmas Eve/Christmas Day as it does the month before it. And, in our house, also the month after. Our goal is to dismantle the tree by Valentine’s Day, and if we miss the mark, no worries.
The more I live, and the more business-oriented I become, I can see December holidays as year-end wrap-ups for my life. Status checks and goal-setting. Memories both happy and sad that I don’t often let in. Thankfulness for my many, many blessings. A surprise snowfall makes me grin. From Herbie Elf’s quest to be a dentist to Cindy Lou Who, Christmastime brings immeasurable joy to my household and my life. It’s not about kids. It’s about me.
I said all that to say, If you’re in a treeless or undecorated house at Christmas, yay you. I’ll do me, and you should know I’ve been known to decorate my own body.