The Ghosts of Christmas Past

Dead trees tell no tales
Dead trees tell no tales

It was with great joy today that we slayed the ghosts of Christmas past by dismantling our holiday decorations. Few things delight me more at the beginning of a new year than boxing up baubles and stashing stockings, organizing ornaments and gathering up garland. As tedious of a task as it is, paring down after a season of excess is exhilarating. I love putting things back to right, restoring order, and returning to ordinary time.

Some people love Christmas with unbridled enthusiasm. I am not one of those people. I do my best to live in the moment and revel in the excitement of my children during the season, but I could do without the trappings of the holidays. I’m happier without all the overdoing. I prefer to practice random gift giving and card sending. I like buying things for someone when the mood strikes me and not when the calendar says it’s time. I enjoy that smell of pine more in a summer forest while I rest in a hammock. If someone parked a red-bow Mercedes in my driveway on Christmas morning like the holiday ads imply some people do, that might increase my seasonal joy. Still, it probably wouldn’t stop me from grousing about the wasted hours putting up and taking down lights. Every Thanksgiving, as I turn my face toward New Year’s Day, I lie to myself as I repeat this mantra: “Five weeks of insanity and then it’s over.”

It’s never truly over, though, is it? We removed the dry, dead carcass of our Christmas tree from our house this afternoon. The drag marks from the front door made its disposal look like a crime scene. Its needles on our walkway told a grisly tale of one cut down in his prime, held hostage, tortured, and cruelly left to die far from home. I might be able to muster a bit of melancholy about it all if I wasn’t sure that I’ll be finding its errant needles in our home until next Christmas. It’s hard to miss a holiday that never truly leaves.


  1. I have never bought a “real” xmas tree and am often saying to people I know that it is far more caring to the natural world to buy a faux one that can be used year in year out! I even convinced one person years ago to buy one with roots and grow it in his garden. Wonder if it’s alive and well to this day? not seen him for years as I moved from there but we can always live in hope! Happy New Year!

    1. I understand your reluctance about real trees and know many people who feel the way you do. For years we have cut ours down from the forest. The forest service here issues limited permits as a means of thinning overgrowth. It’s a fun trek into the woods for our family. We will eventually have to buy faux tree. My only concern about them is that they’re not biodegradable or recyclable. I kind of like thinking my tree will become woodchips on the floor of a playground, even as I’m still finding its needles against my baseboards. 😊

      1. Funny u say about woodchips! I used to be a binman and saw loads of trees come out in new year ready for the brown bins where they went off to be recycled into chips/compost! & I certainly understand the treks into forests! I used to own a big black Labrador cross Alsation who loved those long walks into nature! May you have many more…

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