Shock and amazement. My Christmas tree(s) are still up. So is my Christmas garland. And my Christmas everything else. I know there are people who spent Christmas Day storing everything Christmas, but honestly, by then I’m too exhausted to even contemplate such, much less actually engage in the task. And I know there are some who believe all kinds of evil will befall you if anything Christmassy is still out on New Year’s Day, so if all kinds of evil come to pass, I’m probably responsible.
But I love how the house looks at Christmas. I love the way it sparkles with lights and how woodsy it feels with garland and greenery everywhere. My daughter says Christmas kinda explodes at our house and I believe that’s a fairly accurate description. But I never really get to enjoy it; there just seems to be so much stuff going on in December that I’m rarely ever home to bask in the warmth that is all things Christmas. So when Christmas Day has come and gone and I get up on December 26th, I plug in the main tree in the den and just sit and look at it. I repeat the process when I get home at night. And I do the same thing on the 27th and the 28th and the 29th and right up until I get tired of it and/or have the time to store the decorations and haul the tree to its home for the next ten or so months. Everything stays up and out until at least the third week in January. I figure if folks can decorate for Christmas in October, I can leave it out into January.
Why, you may ask, do I not decorate early so I can abide by the covenants and restrictions regarding seasonal adornment? Well, I always feel sorry for Thanksgiving; it seems to get lost in the sparkle of its sister season, so I try to acknowledge fall and the related holidays before sliding into winter and Christmas. That’s why I spend the weekend after Thanksgiving splattering Christmas all over the house.
There are a bazillion different things in this life that have perceived time tables. De-Christmasing the house is one. Wearing white shoes is another. Grief can be added to the list. Too often everyone around the grieving person knows exactly how long their grief should last. They know every mile marker that person should reach along the way and at what point they should arrive. And if the grieving person doesn’t respond accordingly, then something is terribly wrong with them and they need to deal with it/get over it/seek professional help/etc.
So, here’s a news flash. All these preconceived notions we have regarding the required timing of certain events? For the most part, there are no laws on the books to reinforce said notions (with the exception of income tax payments . . . I’m pretty sure there are real life penalties for failure to comply). If I want to leave my Christmas decorations up all year, I have that right. It would certainly save an enormous amount of time the weekend after Thanksgiving. And if there are people who need more time as they make their way through loss, they have every right to take that time. And we don’t have the right to demand otherwise. So if you are grieving and someone is insisting you should be moving on, ignore them or suggest that they are not walking in your shoes so they can’t possibly know what you need. Just try to say it a little nicer than that. And if you are the insistent human that is demanding compliance, please be aware of what you are asking. Most people cannot accomplish the impossible no matter how much they might wish they could, and your insistence will never change that.