I work hard to keep Thanksgiving and Christmas separate, and I am finding that Thanksgiving is becoming more meaningful to me as years pass. I always loved the feasting and family times. I remember a lot of great meals followed by walks with cousins or listening to family oldsters tell stories. As a child, Christmas seemed a long way distant from the day for remembering Pilgrims and the Mayflower.
Now Christmas is like the playground bully trying to kick Thanksgiving out of the game. Music, decorations, and merchandizing scream loudly over the simple act of being grateful for what we have. This year we left our turkey meal and the next day at the movie theater, we walked into a Christmas tree. On Sunday when I put my pumpkins, squash, Pilgrims, and turkeys away, I felt a little sad to see that quiet, reflective season end. Bringing out the reds, snowmen, and twinkling lights are cheery, of course, but they usher in such a fast season of frenzied activity. I don’t think it used to be like that, but I doubt if we will ever return now to those days of handmade gifts like a Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas near the fire or hear shouts of joy over an orange in a stocking toe…and we all certainly live more than “over the hill and through the woods” from grandma’s house these days.
In the last forty years, I have only missed putting up a tree twice and those were years marked by loss. I had no heart. This year my younger friend said I must put up my tree, that she did NOT want to drive by and miss that tree framed by our picture window. So yesterday I had DH help me set up our pre-lighted tree. I reset the table with red and whites. I scattered snowmen, Santas, and greenery throughout the house for four hours, and tired out before I had any decorations on the tree. When night fell, the tree was gorgeous in its simplicity, the many lights shining across the room. I thought that it was just as pretty as any tree busy with baubles and glitz. This tree reminded me that the true meaning of the season is from a Light that shines through the Ages, and I am pondering leaving it as it is, for this year anyway. So To Decorate or Not Decorate, that is the question!
Have you ever left a tree plain?