Michelle Martin

Is it Christmas yet?

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

It’s already started.

I’ve seen Facebook posts of people decorating their Christmas trees. The stores have been stocked with stockings and lights since before Halloween. And last weekend, Teresa asked when we could put our tree up.

I get it. Christmas is fun and exciting and it’s hard to wait. Especially when it looks like late December outside. (Does a white Halloween mean we’ll have a green Christmas?)

Plus, we’ve used an artificial Christmas tree for the past few years after decades of buying real trees. The change was mostly practical — the tree we got was free, from family members who no longer wanted it, and it’s pre-lit, which saves a couple of hours of decorating time at least. I should say pre-decorating time, time when little people who really want to hang lots of ornaments have to, once again, wait.

Never mind that the artificial tree is symmetrical and balanced, so we haven’t had a repeat of the year the tree crashed down in the middle of the living room. Twice.

When we had a real tree, we could always postpone decorating it until the week before Christmas because we could tell the kids it wouldn’t last, and we didn’t want it to drop its needles before the big day.

More recently, we’ve said we want to wait until her older siblings are home from college so they can join in the fun. Never mind that we haven’t actually asked them if they want to help decorate the tree, or that we usually get them for maybe a half-hour of the half-day process.

But this year, one of them won’t be home until just before the holiday. Also this year, Thanksgiving is as late as it can possibly be. So, Teresa asked, why not decorate the tree the day after Thanksgiving? Everyone will be home, and the tree will be just as fine standing in the living room as it is in its boxes in the garage.

But that day, the Friday after Thanksgiving, is two days before the start of Advent. The season the church sets aside to anticipate — to wait for — the coming of Jesus. We live in a world with so much instant gratification that it can be hard to remember the value of waiting, of planning for something and looking forward to it and then taking the time to savor the moment when it comes.

Much of the other holiday-related activity we do, from buying and wrapping gifts to baking cookies to share with family and friends, during Advent can be reasonably called preparing for Christmas. Maybe you could squeeze tree decoration into that category too, but I’m not sure I want to.

I’m hoping we can compromise on putting up some decorations Thanksgiving weekend and saving the tree for later. The later we put it up, the longer it will probably stay up after Christmas, and taking it down is one job no one looks forward to, and no one is eager to help with.

In the meantime, a blessed Advent to everybody.







  • family life
  • advent