Tonight I switched on the Christmas tree lights for the last time this season (pictured at right). Tomorrow, I’ll take the tree down, and keep my mother’s tradition. Like always.
When I was growing up, we put up our tree sometime close to Christmas, though the exact day varied. However, it always came down on January 6, Epiphany. My mother always did it while we were at school because, she said, no kid should have to see the end of the Christmas magic.
So, I’d come home from school on January 6 and the house would be back to normal—no tree, all the decorations put away for another year. It was kind of sad, but also kind of nice—the house was clear again. And, it also meant the countdown to my birthday was under way.
Now, a logical question is, what did my mother do on the years when January 6 fell on a weekend? The truth is, I have no idea: Maybe she took it down the Friday before or the Monday after, but I simply don’t remember. Maybe that’s just as well—certainly my mother would have preferred it that way.
This was actually the first year in several that we put the tree up. We bought a corner cupboard for the corner where the tree always was, and it was only this year that I chose a new spot. As far as I know, the only time I ever included a photo of the tree in its former position is way back in 2009; we got the new cabinet in 2012, so certainly from then on we didn’t put it up, but maybe it was even earlier—I don’t remember, and I don’t have any photos to tell me either way.
Since we have such a simple tree—basically a gold garland dress on a metal pole—putting it up is easy. We run lights up the middle so it glows out; in past years, we just put the lights at the base, but I think I like this better.
I don’t know if we’ll put the tree up again next year, but at least we have a spot tha
t we know works. But tomorrow, this season’s Christmas decorations, such as they are, will be put away, just like my mother always did, except I’ll be the one ending the magic.