Can I put up my Christmas tree in November already?
Well, technically you can, it’s your home. Although this is against most early Christmas traditions, where the Christmas Tree is a light during the darkest days of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Putting up a Christmas tree before Christmas is a trend driven by retailers and media who are pushing because of commercial motives. Psychologically, it can create the wrong associations between the Christmas Tree and our mood during a very busy time of the year.
What’s wrong with putting up my Christmas tree early, in November?
Over the past week or so my social streams have been filled with proud folks showing off their beautiful Christmas trees.
It’s flippin’ November!
It’s not even the first day of Advent!
(…or the first Sunday of Advent!)
Why should I care though? It’s their life, their house, their traditions.
Yet it is these same people who want to get rid of all signs of Christmas on Boxing Day already.
They then fill my social streams with how bored they are of Christmas, just as Christmas really is beginning.
Remember that song called 12 days of Christmas? That, yes!
Christmas begins on Christmas Eve and lasts till the 6th of January, the day of the Three Kings. We traditionally put up a tree for that period to decorate, celebrate and provide light (with candles on the tree).
It’s bad enough that shops are putting up Christmas messages and decorations, playing Christmas music earlier and earlier. They have a motive: sell more! However, their commercial motives needn’t creep into our homes too.
Afterall, what message do we teach our children by doggedly following the retailers?
Our society is increasingly one that seeks instant gratification. There is no such things as saving up for things. We reach for credit if we want a new sofa, car or whatever. So it seems we are doing with Christmas. We don’t want to wait till the end of December; we want it now!
Surely, one of the most magical things about Christmas is the Christmas tree and the decorated house;
The soul tingling planning and anticipation that goes with it.
I love how decorations slowly fill the house, first an advent wreath, then advent calendars, more and more candles, the smell of gingerbread baking, a gingerbread house, crafting with the children to make more decorations for the house and the tree; this what late November and December are about.
Finally, right before the big day, the tree goes up and the house comes alive, just as winter has delivered it’s darkest days.
There is real joy in that wait and preparation!
The rhythm of life in the run-up to Christmas is usually extremely hectic: Christmas parties at work, with friends, at school, nativity plays, secret Santas, visiting Santa’s grotto; Not to mention the stress of trying to find the right present for everyone at the right budget.
The pressure on having a perfect Christmas is already huge. We all want that fairytale Christmas romantic films portray, right?
A time of perfect families with the perfect Christmas dinner in a perfect house with the perfect presents under the perfect Christmas tree.
If all our trees and decorations were up for a month already, they have lost their novelty and magical spark. I dare say we are bored of them.
Our pressure for perfect shifts to people and presents. Christmas day becomes all about who got what present and people (not always in the right way).
In this whole process we lose the real message of Christmas: Love!
A Christmas tree is about celebrating love (the love God showed us by sending his son, Jesus). Lovingly decorating it with ornaments with memories, lighting up our house, putting a shining star or angel to crown the tree. A star or angel to show us the way, to draw us to sit by the tree, breathe, reflect and celebrate.
Instead, we choose to put up a Christmas tree up early and inevitably associate it with the hectic run up to the Christmas holidays. It becomes a symbol of chaos, tiredness and mad running around.
Imagine we only put it up just a couple of days early, maybe even as late as on the day of Christmas Eve:
Christmas sparkles more, our heart still skips a beat when we sees the beautiful tree standing. (You, know the same way it does now, in November if we have it up.)
In our family, Christmas Eve is the most special day.
Imagine having some fun (and frustration) filled days of Christmas.
Then slowing down for the Christmas break.
Imagine, we have all the time to marvel at our tree together, as it twinkles and shimmers, no school runs, work commitments or social engagements. We sit around the tree playing games, watching films cuddled up together as a family.
Now, that is what my Christmas is about:
… it’s about those crazy days before Christmas
… and then the slow relaxed days spent soaking in the Christmas spirit in the lead up to New Year’s Eve.
I love stealing the sweets and cookies hung on the tree!
I love coming down in the Christmas holidays in the mornings, switching on the lights and knowing no one has anywhere to rush- school or work.
We sip hot chocolate, play with games and head out when we are ready, if we are ever ready that day.
So I ask: why would anyone deprive themselves of the anticipation and the joy of enjoying a Christmas tree when life is calmer and you can appreciate the magic more?
Why put up a Christmas tree in late December only?
- In November and early December, it creates clutter at a cluttered time of year-think of all the parties and rushing around
- When a tree is up early, the association will be with the craze of Christmas prep, instead of the calm of the Christmas break
- You can say that you don’t bend to media pressure
- You miss the opportunity to enjoy the sparkle in peace, if your tree is up early
- You get bored of, maybe even annoyed by, it by the time Christmas actually arrives
- There is magic in anticipation, in holding off on instant gratification
…Afterall, you wouldn’t wear your wedding dress just for a casual walk to the beach before your wedding day, would you?