I love Christmas.**
Seriously. Except for cranky, ill-behaved people at the local retail establishments,*** everything is just fine with me. I own the soundtrack to "A Charlie Brown Christmas." I've been to one church service in the past decade and a half, but around Christmas, I can be observed singing religious carols, mainly because I think they're the prettiest ones. I like finding perfect gifts (I've got a surprise one for Wonderful Neighbor), and wrapping them up prettily.
But I have never had a tree.
The Christmas tree was the best part of Christmas growing up. We lived in an area where we went and cut down our own. So I would pile into the station wagon with dad and we'd head out to the edge of town, wander through until we found the perfect tree,**** saw it down, and bring it home. Then there was the decorating, which always happened at night, as a family,***** with a fire in the fireplace and Christmas music on the record player. Doesn't that sound nice?
But the thing is, except when I've gone home to visit the family, I've always spent Christmas day alone. And to me, the tree and all the wonderfulness that went with it required a sort of happy, intimate togetherness. Doing the one without the other seems empty, like the worst kind of one-night stand.****** So I've never had the nerve to get one.
But this year, ID will be here (arriving today, in fact!), at least through the 22nd. So something that close to what is required for me to fully dive into the land of Christmas-Tree-ness has allowed me to bravely do something that at least approximates it:
Of course, the format is closer to "scholar" than "It's a Wonderful Life." But all in all, I think it's not such a bad compromise.
**I like Hannukah, too, but mainly because a senior colleague at another university throws a big party that's always a lot of fun.
***I find that the adults are far worse than the children in this respect.
****"Perfect" for dad meant a fir, somewhere around 5-6 feet tall, and with natural branches, rather than pruned ones.
*****This faded a bit as the house was home to first one moody teenaged girl (me), then another (my sister). My brother was in no way culpable. But you know, things are finally getting back to calm, and I suppose we have about 6 good years before my niece enters her moody teenaged years.
******This is not to impugn all one-night stands. Just sayin'.