Friday, December 08, 2006

Why I Don't Have a Christmas Tree

I'm not really a Scrooge I just don't have any real enthusiasm for decorating my home or office for Christmas. My friend Matt put his finger on the issue this morning at work. I don't have a tree or decorate my apartment because I don't celebrate Christmas there. Christmas for me centers (focuses?) for me on two things, meditating on God's love shown in Christ's incarnation and celebrating with loved ones.
The former hasn't really involved any decorations for me. I know there are people out there attempting to invest trees, wreathes, and candy canes with Christian meaning but those attempts have never really resonated with me. There was a Wizard of Id cartoon once where the Spook (the prisoner) was given a Christmas tree by one of the guards. Somehow Spook knocked all the needles off, maybe by sneezing on it. The guard looks in on Spook and says, "Great! You've ruined the symbol of Christmas." Spook is standing there looking at a bare tree in the shape of a cross. I'd rather honor Christmas by reading a chapter from one of the Gospels every day, meditating on the Magnificat, and reading a book on the incarnation than by putting up decorations. Traditional decorations don't have much meaning for me so I don't spend time on them. But maybe this year I'll try out my nativity set.
The latter point also plays against decorations. I enjoy getting together with friends and family at Christmas and exchanging gifts, eating, singing, even decorating trees (at least watching people who enjoy decorating trees do it). But these are not things I do where I live. I don't have people over to my apartment for Christmas parties. The parties are held by people with bigger places who enjoy throwing parties. Eventually we reach the last few days before Christmas and I drive south to celebrate with Mom and Daddy, with the folks in Corbin, with the Campbells and Whites, with Lydia and Geron and Cora (Huzzah!), with Ann and Daniel. Christmas doesn't really happen in my apartment because there's hardly ever anyone there on 12/24-25. A few years ago when I lived with Matt, he put up some decorations because his sisters were coming to visit him for Christmas. He put up some lights and bought a couple of little "postmodern Christmas trees" at Ikea. I liked those trees. I came home one day and there on our end table was a red pyramid about a foot tall and maybe 4" wide at the base and a silver cone about the same size. Those were our Christmas trees the two Christmas seasons I lived with Matt. I was happy to find out that they had made it into his and Unity's decorations this year. But if his sisters hadn't been coming we may never have had them.
There was a time when I was a kid that a tree was an important part of Christmas and I'd still like there to be one at Mom and Dad's. One year when it was certain that my parents weren't going to have a tree Lydia or Ann drew one on posterboard and tacked it to the wall where the tree would have been. I like a tree where I'm celebrating but I'm not putting one up, so maybe the whole thing just comes down to laziness or thrift. I don't want to spend the energy or the time.


Jenn-Jenn, the Mother Hen said...

'Nuff said. Of course, in our house here it's important to have Christmas decorations for the little 'uns. I'll quit "nagging" you about it.

ann said...

I hope you do break out your nativity set. I really really liked it. If you don't use it, you should pass it on. I think it's awesome. I'd probably keep it up all year, but it comes wtih memories for me. Anyway, I'm a little sad you've not been using it.

Lydia said...

Ann was the tree artist. I think she may have also been the inventor of Ewokiel, who you might want to mention in your next post, or not. Whatever the case, we have a tree waiting for you to stare at down in Chattanooga, so come on down!! Cora wants to see her Uncle Bubba again!
Love you!