By Lisa Yorkgitis Nahach
Reach me at LisaYorkgitisNahach@gmail.com.
For me, New Year’s Day doesn’t signify the end of the season, and I have no immediate plans to take down our Christmas tree. In fact, I am gazing at the twinkling lights right now.
The tree is looking a little worse for wear, but that’s okay. Our top branch broke on the way home from the tree farm, so we need to strengthen it with packing tape before replacing the angel. Yeah, we should have done that earlier — ideally, when we realized that the angel looked like a fallen cherubim and removed her. The tree also is looking crooked, but we can fix that, too. We already have straightened it at least once. (We’re used to the tree falling down, so a slight slant doesn’t bother us much.) Finally, half of a light strand doesn’t work, but I have so many lights on the tree, a casual onlooker probably can’t see the ones that don’t work. I may try to fix them, but my efforts might backfire.
I believe that the Christmas season stretches to at least Jan., 6, the day Christians officially celebrate Epiphany — the arrival of the three kings. But do I plan to take down the tree Jan. 6 or Jan. 7? Heck, no!
My reluctance to take down our tree stems partly from my parents’ example. They often kept it up long after Christmas. One year, they and my oldest sibling Susan, a schoolteacher, turned the Christmas tree into a holiday tree by replacing the ornaments with other decorations. I thought it was magical.
Mom gathered seasonal items from the house, and Susan shared items from her classroom, such as hearts. cupids, arrows, and flowers as well as leprechauns, pots of gold, rainbows, and shamrocks. I don’t remember for sure, but I think she also supplied cardboard eggs, chicks, bunnies, and baskets for Easter. She might have decorated for Presidents’ Day, too.
Believe it or not, our tree was live that year, like it always was. Dad must have picked an especially good one. It might even have been a recycled tree from our backyard. In the early years of their marriage, my parents picked some trees from nurseries that they could plant in the yard after the holiday season. Many of them later became Christmas trees once again.
Our holiday tree was a beautiful fire hazard. I keep hoping to open an envelope of pictures and find one or two photos of it. Fortunately, I have many of Susan’s classroom decorations, so one day, I will be able to have my own holiday tree.
Susan died in 1992 from natural causes. Nine years later, when I became the decorating chairman at my daughter’s elementary school, Mom and Dad sent me several boxes of her classroom decorations. Many of them enlivened the school day of a new generation of children.