Even though I try not to even thInk about it until after Thanksgiving, I don’t immediately turn on the Christmas spirit full-bore as soon as the turkey’s done.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint. It’s something you build up to, with milestones along the way.
Like putting up the Christmas tree and decorations.
We probably spent almost as much time untangling branches — and cursing about how awful the tree was — as we did decorating the tree.
The first Christmas tree my wife and I had was perhaps the worst design since the turn-right-to-go-left abomination that is so popular on New Jersey’s roads.
The lights were attached to the branches, meaning the branches were all connected to each other. We probably spent almost as much time untangling branches — and cursing about how awful the tree was — as we did decorating the tree.
Fortunately, we replaced it a few years ago, and our current tree gives us no such problems.
The biggest concerns we have are making sure the ornaments all have the proper hooks, that we properly “tszuj” the branches — I have nothing against the word, but I barely heard it between the end of the original “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” and the time my wife decided to bring it back — and making sure nothing is close enough to the bottom for our cat Sasha to get at.
It’s bad enough that she likes to eat the needles. I have no idea why; I can’t imagine that plastic Christmas tree needles can taste very good.
Yes, our tree is artificial. My family mostly had real Christmas trees when I was growing up. There were a couple tree farms near our house, so we’d go pick one, and my father would store it in the garage until we brought it in the house to decorate it.
Real trees are nice, but you also have to water them, clean up the needles that fall off and then dispose of them after Christmas is over.
So artificial trees are fine with me.
As always, this year’s tree has the Derek Jeter ornament on top, with Reggie Jackson underneath. All the others go where the mood strikes and where it looks like there’s space.
Fortunately, the star didn’t fall off while we were decorating. That happened a few years ago, and I instinctively reached out to catch it … which would have been fine if I didn’t get the point of the star directly in my palm.
We’re fairly low-key when it comes to decorations. We have the tree, obviously, the stockings and a few other items on the fireplace, candles in the windows and wreaths in the doors.
A few houses on our street have their Christmas lights up, and we like looking at them. When we lived closer, we used to go to Falmouth every year to see their lights on the town green; we really should try to find something similar here.
There is one part of Christmas that I do dive headlong into as soon as I get the change.
I love egg nog, and I only drink it from Thanksgiving to whenever we finish the last one after Christmas.
Then it’s done until the next Thanksgiving.
Previously, I’d drink a great big cup of it every day, sometimes even the 32-ounce ones in the back of the cabinet. But I’m trying to get more sensible about these things, so instead I’m having a smaller cup most days, but not every day, in place of my afternoon snack.
I’ll start Christmas shopping eventually, basically when I feel like going to the appropriate websites.
One of these days, I’m guessing a couple weekends from now, we’ll sit down and fill out the Christmas cards.
We each have a work Christmas event — me a lunch a couple Fridays from now and her a gathering where she works that I’ll probably go to.
The snow we had a couple weeks ago has already melted, and I’ll be happy if we don’t get any more. I don’t dream of a white Christmas, not when I have to drive in it.
So little by little, it’s starting to look like Christmas, but it’s only Dec. 1.
There’s still a lot of time left.