A few nights ago, I called my Mom up to ask her if she wanted any of the Christmas decorations that I was getting rid of, and she asked me what I was going to use to decorate my tree this year.
"Oh, I'm getting rid of my tree," I responded.
Long pause. Followed by my Mom going through all five Kubler Ross stages of grief while she adjusted to this news.
"Noooooo.....you're not actually getting rid of your tree. Your Christmas tree? You're getting rid of your Christmas tree?
"I didn't raise you to not have a Christmas tree! No daughter of mine is allowed to not have a Christmas tree!"
"What if I come over and put up the tree? I can bring egg nog! You have to put up a tree."
"Well...I guess Christmas is ruined again this year. I'm just going to lie on the floor feeling sad about how treeless your Christmas is."
"Unnnnngggghhhhh.....fine.....maybe this isn't the biggest crisis to ever hit mankind. I suppose someday I can forgive you for getting rid of your tree. Maybe."
(I exaggerate only in the slightest.)
I should have expected this kind of reaction, but despite knowing my Mom for over four decades, she still has the capacity to surprise me. And I was surprised by the intensity of her reaction to me getting rid of my tree. Because I wasn't trying to ruin the holiday or make some sort of anti-Christmas statement. I actually really like Christmas! I just don't want to put up a tree anymore.
My dislike of Christmas trees (or, more accurately, of my former Christmas tree) stems in part from living in a not very big one-bedroom apartment. As you can see from yesterday's picture, my living room doesn't really have space to put up a tree, so it was always crammed into a corner where I could barely see it. And when it wasn't up, it was in my storage space (or in its box in the living room), blocking my access to my non-perishable food supply.
More than that, I hated taking the time to set up a tree at Christmas. I am usually on call for at least part of the holiday*, leaving me constantly short on time, and I started to resent spending any of that time putting up and taking down a tree. It stopped being an activity that "sparked joy" and started being yet another thing on a too-long to-do list.
So I got rid of my tree. I moved it from my living room floor to the free giveaway area in my lobby, and it has now been adopted by my building caretaker**. With the tree and the Rubbermaid containers and the really crappy chair that didn't work gone, I feel like I can breathe in this room again. And when the holiday comes, I can spend time with the people I love, instead of decorating a tree that I had come to hate.
*But not this year!!!!!
**He is going to put it up in the lobby, meaning that I will be able to enjoy my tree without storing or decorating it. I feel like I won.