Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Expiration Date of the Xmas Tree

I'm lucky to be married to someone I agree with 90-percent of the time. That's why it makes our differences of opinion even more shocking.

But we don't fight per se, we engage in heated discussions (AKA "Here's why you're wrong.")

Sometimes things gets pretty interesting, as in our running debate regarding whether the majority of Americans have sex with the lights on or off.

And sometimes it's about the expiration date of Christmas trees.

Over the weekend, as I was meticulously (because everything I do I try to do meticulously) taking Christmas ornaments off the tree, my husband thanked me for doing so -- because he'd been meaning to, but hadn't found the time. He added that it had been bugging him to still have the tree up at this late date.

"What do you mean? It's only January 14th -- and my parents sometimes have their tree up until February." (Alright, that's nuts. I mean, one year my mom even decorated her tree with a Valentine's theme to justify its longevity. But when you're used to nuts it seems normal.)

Let the fight, er debate, begin...

Turns out my husband is a wanting-a-tree-up-and-decorated-all-December person, and I am a wanting-a-tree-decorated-the week-before-Christmas-thru-mid-January person (and that's really only because this is the last week our town picks up trees.) And somehow the marriage has survived ten years!

How could it be we are just discovering this difference? Probably because with two young kids, we never had the time to ever get anything done until the last minute anyway. And that suited me just fine.

My favorite fire hazard, shortly before dismantling

But now that the topic was breached, I told him I thought it detracted from the "specialness" of Christmas to have the tree up too early. I like the idea of putting the decorations on the tree the week before Christmas, as a prelude to the actual festivities (yeah, we're nothing but festive here.)

Adding to my aversion to the early tree is the relatively recent practice of stores putting up their Christmas decorations on or about November 1st (which totally pisses me off. I mean, anybody remember that little day called "Thanksgiving"? )

So blame retail -- because the early appearance of the decorated tree taunts me with, "I'm here all sparkly and festive and why the hell isn't your Christmas shopping isn't done yet, you freakin' slacker?!"

But once Christmas with all its heinous preparation is over, the tree becomes a way of prolonging the holiday spirit ... something to gaze at adoringly while savoring the mass quantities of dark chocolate that one's 90-percent-of-the-time-right husband was kind enough to stuff one's stocking full of.

My significant other's argument had something to do with the entire month of December being the "Christmas season" and that it was depressing to keep the tree up after the first week of January.

At least I think that was what he said...I was too busy keeping my fingers in my ears and humming loudly to know for sure.

Meanwhile, both our children came to me separately as I was denuding the tree and expressed their disappointment that the decorations couldn't be up longer. To which I said -- go tell your dad what you just told me.

Which may not prove that I'm right, but only that I think like a grade-schooler. Hey, I'll take what I can get.


At January 19, 2006 11:49 PM, Blogger Merujo said...

There's a house in a very ritzy neighborhood about 5 miles south of my Kmart-ish 'hood. (It's one block from Barneys of NY, Chanel, Tiffany's, etc.) I call it the "Clark Griswold House" for the hideous and massive retro Christmas light display every year. It looks like a drunk schizophrenic just threw lights at the whole house, and smacked it all into place with a nail gun.

Aaaand, the lights are still all up. Part of me wonders if this is just some huge "F-U" to the increasingly snobby neighborhood on a whole, or if it's simply a matter of "I like the lights. The light stay up." Perhaps there is a battle of wills going on behind that bulb-festooned door, and the world will never know...


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