I’ve just never known what to make of those people who leave Christmas lights up and blazing outside their homes until deep into January. Are they still feeling joyous on January 27th or simply slothfully procrastinating the inevitable?
Frankly I know little of the ethos of the outdoor Christmas light. When my children were young, we did celebrate secular Christmas (i.e. jolly bearded old fat guy, si; serious bearded young skinny guy, non!), but I had a strict rule about lights outside the house.
While the inside of the house could be lit like the Vegas Strip, the outside had to be as dark as our spirits after this year’s election. I realize this precept was somewhat hypocritical, but flashing red and green lights and dancing candy canes in front of my house at holiday time was to me the equivalent of installing a ten foot high neon sign proclaiming:
HERE LIVES THE WORST JEW IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD!!!
Still, I do understand the melancholy nature of the annual take down and/or disposing of seasonal decorations. Every year I sadly espy the multiple discarded Christmas trees lining the sidewalks in front of homes all throughout my neighborhood, lying there like so many dead and dying soldiers from a nearby raging battle. Yesterday I paused to pick one up and comfort it in last moments:
“What happened, Christmas Tree? Oh, God, you’re hurt bad.”
“Yes, it was so sudden, unexpected …..”
“Cigarette, Christmas Tree?”
“What are you, crazy? I’m made of wood, idiot!”
“Oh, that’s right! And I don’t have any cigarettes, anyway.”
“It was so strange. One moment, I was all adorned with decorations and lights, people were sliding presents under me, and children were gathered around me singing:
Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree
How lovely are your branches
Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree …”
“Yes, Christmas Tree?”
“The next minute, it was ‘Herby, get that disgusting mangy thing the hell out of here, it’s dropping needles all over the goddamn carpet!'”
“Christmas Tree, can I write to anybody for you? Notify anyone? Give a special locket to someone?”
“You can get your foot off my stem.”
“You know, Christmas Tree, the Jewish people respect your kind. We even have a special holiday for trees called Tu Bishvat.”
“Does that mean that if the Jewish people had a tree like me they wouldn’t toss me out like I was so much rubbish or even less than rubbish, like the original cast album of Mamma Mia?”
“No, we’d still do it. We’d just feel guilty about it.”
It was then that I decided to knock on the door of one of the several homes in my neighborhood that still had outdoor Christmas lights all aglow like a tiny tot’s eyes and find out what was truly going on with the residents within.
Would a fashionably dressed man and woman answer the door and graciously bid me enter? Would they offer me champagne, wish me a belated Joyeux Noel, and usher me into their den where a glorious and fully lit and decorated Christmas Tree yet held sway, captivating and illuminating the minds and hearts of all who would enter?
The door opened. A short bald fat guy in a Bachmann Turner Overdrive T-shirt stood in front of me.
“Help you, Mac?”
From off in the distance, I heard a woman’s voice shouting “Herby, I told you to get that disgusting mangy thing the hell out of here, it’s dropping needles all over the goddamn carpet!'”
At long last, I had my answer.