Tree Trouble

For my entire life, I have put away the holiday decorations on New Year’s Day.  This season I felt like I wanted to jump the gun and it took me a bit to realize that New Year’s has always been a day off.  This year with pandemic and furlough, every day is a day off.  So we decided to put everything away a couple of days earlier than usual. 

We both like a live tree.  But even with constant watering, six weeks (plus whatever amount of time between cutting and the Bachman’s lot) is just too long for a tree to stay supple and resilient.  Taking the lights off always means a mess, especially since I like to “bury” the lights, but as should have been expected for 2020, it was much messier than usual this year.  In addition to the little sprigs of greenery all over the floor, after I took the tree to the curb, the front porch, front steps and front sidewalk were covered with the tree detritus.

Broom, dust bin, trash bag and vacuum just to get started.  Then, of course, dusting is needed on all the horizontal surfaces that have been covered with assorted holiday décor.  Everything is now all put away and cleaned up; the living room and dining room seem empty, sort of naked. 

I wish that cleaning up the holiday was a great metaphor for the coming new year.  While I’m hoping for the 2020 dumpster fire will be extinguished, I think it will take longer than we would all wish for.  In the meantime, at least the house is clean.

Live tree or artificial?  When do you like to put the holiday decorations away? 

24 thoughts on “Tree Trouble”

  1. The questions don’t apply to me, but I keenly remember emotions triggered by taking the tree down. We favored big trees, full bodied and so tall the angel on top got a headache from being shoved against the ceiling. When a tree like that disappeared the room felt empty, like we’d suffered a death in the family. A month after Christmas I’d still miss the tree.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. After having decorations up for about a month, I am usually anxious to remove them shortly after Christmas.. I used to buy real trees for years but switched to a small artificial one sometime in the 90s. For one thing, it was much easier for one person to put up, and I was tired of stepping on and later cleaning dry needles. Since my place is small and Christmas is never celebrated here, I stopped putting a tree up about 10 years ago. This year, I am doing a “spring cleaning” as each room is un-decorated, including getting rid of “stuff” I no longer need or want. Today and tomorrow I will tackle the last three rooms – living and dining room, and kitchen. Even though my place looks bare, I love starting the new year fresh, especially this year.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Our real Frazier Fir tree came down on Monday before we left on Wednesday for Brookings. Too much temptation for the cat to leave it up. I love it when it is up and decorated. I love it when it is gone and everything is cleaned up. The local anglers club takes the real trees to sink in our local lake to improve fish habitats.

    We get real trees, because we like the aroma, and because I would rather have a real tree for a few weeks than deal with storing an artificial one in the basement all year. Too much dust. Takes up too much room.

    The tomtens will stay out until Epiphany.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

    Artificial or fake tree?That is one of those questions that will start an argument, despite never mentioning politics, religion or sex.

    This year the question is moot because we did not put anything up given our need to dis-assemble the kitchen and living room before leaving. The Christmas tree was one thing to eliminate from the general hassle. We have a fake tree because I am allergic to pine trees. Having one in the house creates too many allergens. The same goes for poinsettias.

    Usually I put the tree up the Sunday after Thanksgiving (while playing John Denver and the Muppets), then take it down sometime during the week after New Years. Like Renee, I love putting it up and I enjoy taking it down and getting my space back. Somewhere this year I saw an essay written by an amusing Muslim-American young man who spent December with a family who celebrate Christmas. He said it was really a full-time job, what with decorating, shopping, and wrapping stuff. I loved the perspective of new eyes on a beloved tradition.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. we do live .
    costco fraser fir has become a tradition
    prices have gone up but i don’t check anymore, this year was 43 with tax. really nice trees but you need to act fast . they only get in x number of trailers per store then they’re done.
    we stick the tree on the patio and hang a bird feeder nearby to enjoy a jan feb march windbreak for the bird show while things are a little slow in the back yard until spring
    this year ari keeps the back yard moving with trampoline action on his multi visited schedule allows every week. he loves outdoors and snow and wants to go out as soon as he arrives
    our house has what used to be quiet little festive guys with batteries who until this year sat unnoticed in their spots. this year they have a new fan who picks up the ice skaters and snow covered houses and bus stops from the table top vignettes scattered around the grinch and mickey mouses band get to become moving playmates instead of frozen statues with the flick of a switch
    debbie puts it all back in boxes when it’s time to revert to boring old life…. she knows when . i don’t pay attention. i just notice when it’s done

    Liked by 3 people

  6. The only thing that says Christmas at our house is the poinsettia and a few extra candles. The poinsettia will stay until I can put out in the garden in late spring, and the extra candles will brighten our evenings until more light returns in a few months.

    My jade tree is now in full bloom, and has been for several weeks; it’s really lovely to look at, especially this time of year when there isn’t much else competing for attention. It’s only a matter of weeks before my two Christmas cacti, too, begin to bloom; they have buds all over. Their blossoms are larger, showier, and red, but won’t last nearly as long as the clusters of tiny white and pink star shaped flowers adorning the jade plant.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. Morning y’All. Happy New Year.

    We do a live tree. In the old days my parents talk about just going out in the woods and cutting one down. And when you see the pictures, they are some pretty rough looking trees like you would expect to find growing wild. There’s a certain appeal in that.

    We’re thinking next weekend to take it down. Our living room isn’t that big either so it alters the flow a bit when it’s up. We’ve tried different places in the room and either the dog has to move or daughter has to shift where she watches TV. This year she moved. She’s starting to ask about getting back to where she was.

    There have been a few years we just never got around to getting a tree or maybe they were too expensive or I don’t know what. But we had the tall, narrow, silver, sparkly thing. I added color changing LED lights too it and it was kinda fun.
    But it didn’t have the smell.
    One thing I enjoy, especially when it’s really cold, is laying under it tightening the screws in the stand and it smells so good and the cold air settles down on me; it’s a nice moment.

    Before we were married, Kelly decorated her bike one year. A ficus tree one year. For many years, someone sold trees in the DQ parking lot. We bought a lot of trees there. Since then we’ve moved around.
    Kelly also has a very large display of Santa’s that takes the entire top of the piano. It will all go back next weekend.

    I drove by Savers the other day and it was crowded with people making donations. We took some stuff to Goodwill the other day it there was just 1 car besides us. We don’t have a Salvation Army store in town anymore.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Living in Saint Paul, we were obliged to contract with a private company to haul away our trash. One year I called the office of that firm and learned that I should put our Christmas tree with the garbage cans. But after the truck came through and emptied the cans, the tree was still there. I called again and got the same advice. Next week the cans were emptied but once again the tree was left where I’d put it.

    I called a third time. The lady in the office said, “The driver on your route, well, he doesn’t like trees.” Aha! I had failed to consider the preferences of our driver. Silly me, I thought old Christmas trees were trash and his job was to haul trash. I was grateful our driver had no apparent prejudices against coffee grounds and eggshells.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I know that the city takes the trees but I’m wondering if they have separate crews to pick them up. We put our tree out on Wednesday and it was gone within a couple of hours as was our neighbor’s which was also out on the boulevard..


  9. For me, for us I think, the nostalgia of Christmas decorations comes from the lifelong collection of ornaments and the way the cluster of tiny lights transforms the atmosphere of the room. The tree is just a vehicle for displaying those things.

    We have had an artificial tree, in fact the same artificial tree, since we moved into this house fifteen years ago. The tree still looks acceptably real or else we would replace it. It’s small, only 4 1/2 feet high and stands on a low cabinet in the corner of the room. It doesn’t take up so much room as to require rearranging the furniture. As novel as it feels to put up the Christmas decorations after Thanksgiving, by this time of year we are mentally done with that and what is left is summoning the time and energy to disassemble it all.

    We used to have real trees. We even used to go to tree farms and cut our own. Cutting your own tree or even picking one out from a lot feels more like hunting and gathering than like shopping. Maybe that’s why having a real tree seems to embody a ritual and emotional component. It’s a lot of bother for something so ephemeral. I don’t miss it.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Up until about five or six years ago we always went out and cut our own tree. It was a fun tradition and we usually went to places that had fire pits and I always brought cookies. But as YA got older and became a YA, it wasn’t a tradition that she valued as much when weighed against her time. She still wants to go with me to do the tree but now we go to Backmans and the whole process only takes about an hour.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I think Jacque is right about Christmas trees and the debate about real versus fake. I have always been in the real tree camp. We had an artificial tree for a few years when husband suddenly developed an environmental concern about live trees. We went out and invested in a good quality artificial tree, but it didn’t look right, and it smelled all wrong. To me, part of the beauty of a real tree is its fragrance. As it turned out, it wasn’t so much an environmental concern as it was husband’s genetic disposition to not squander our financial resources on something he deemed unnecessary.

        After a few years, we gave the tree away to a Hmong family that had been featured in the Pioneer Press as needing stuff for the holidays. They had three young children, and we helped them assemble it since the instructions on how to do that were long gone. It felt good to hand it off to a family that would otherwise not have had a tree, and it was fun to watch the excitement of the kids. A win – win situation; we got rid of a tree that did not spark joy in our household and passed it on to a family where it did.

        Liked by 3 people

  10. For the past maybe 20 years we’ve had an artificial tree – first my folks’ full size one when the moved to an apartment, then scaled down to small table models. I do miss the pine scent, but it’s certainly easier, so I get pine scented candles, etc.

    Will probably take most things down this weekend, but I leave a few things up till Epiphany, esp. if they’re out of the way. A couple of my “displays” are wintry or peace oriented, rather than Christmas-y, and those may stay up for a while. And most lights will stay indefinitely this year… I need the cheerful light.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I have two spreadsheets that I’ve been working on today; One is the mileage and hours from all the vehicles and tractors. My ritual is to walk around on New Years morning recording all those.
    Then I find it very satisfying to record all that and find the yearly mileage and hours of use. Vehicle mileage was down 40% this year, while tractor and lawn mower usage was up 10%.

    The other one is a balance sheet. Again, it’s very satisfying to input all the numbers and get the results. Had to argue with Excel a bit today, but I got it. Again, good to see the loans paid down or off and where we end the year. Still in the black!

    Liked by 4 people

  12. I favor real trees, but haven’t had one for awhile. I like the smell. I generally have gone to the U of M Forestry students lot for trees.

    The needles all over the place….kind of a pain, but on balance I would rather put up with the needles than have to store an artificial tree.

    I leave the Christmas stuff around for quite a while. When winter carnival starts, I begin to think it’s probably time to pack stuff up.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Sandy just announced she will leave the tree up for 2 more weeks just because she can . She was reminiscing about having a Lutheran and an Orthodox Christmas 12 days later, by the old calendar, and says that is part of why she is going to wait.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I sense your understandable exasperation, Clyde, and also your loving forbearance in consideration of Sandy’s dementia. I know it’s not easy, but this, too, shall pass. And bless you for giving her a lot of latitude. In the overall scheme of things, it’s really not important, is it?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am not exasperated at all. I am delighted she is enjoying it. I like the decorations. The tree is 7 feet tall, in a room with a 10 foot ceiling, Bit is only 30 inches around at its base. Also delighted she is recalling memories, a good think for people with dementia they tell me. The “because I can” statement delighted me.

        Liked by 1 person

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