One of the things about the holidays that gets me every single year is putting up the Christmas tree. I remember as a kid going to my parents closet in about August and standing there because that's where the Christmas decorations were, and I couldn't wait for Christmas. I couldn't wait for the magic of the greens and reds and tinsel. Sometimes I could faintly smell the cinnamon potpourri. We did the whole Thanksgiving thing of watching the Macy's parade, eating the big meal, and then sometime that weekend putting up the decorations. I loved the excitement of getting out all of the stuff and putting it in its special place for the season. I also remember thinking how odd it was that I had vivid memories of putting up the decorations, but no specific memories of taking them down.
Anyway, it was one of those magical things about holidays and traditions that make childhood what it is, and as I got older, I couldn't wait to recreate that for my kids. Only, it's still just me. Every time I put up the tree, I die a little bit. It's just me by myself collecting the boxes from their respective places, and there's no one to help decide how to do the lights on the tree this year. My dad always used to get so frustrated with the lights, so as soon as we were old enough, we took over that task. My siblings and I would decide about blinking or not blinking, etc. We would get frustrated with the tangles of lights or the ones that you check and they work perfectly, but then you put them on the tree they don't work right. Putting the lights on the tree by myself is the worst of all of it. Each year, it's a fight to put up the tree. I don't do a ton of decorating, but I at least have my tree and a couple of other things. The question becomes, why do it? If I'm constantly fighting that feeling of "what's the point?", then why subject myself to it?
Well, I'll tell you. It's because I still matter. Even if I can't be creating Christmas magic for a family, that doesn't mean that I'm not still worth the hassle of a tree just for myself. It's because even though putting up the tree hurts, having it up makes me happy. It's because I refuse to let depression and my circumstances take away one more little thing for me. It's because when the evenings are cold and dark, the lights of the tree in the evening are warm and inviting.
So, yeah, it was extra difficult this year with extra stuff going on outside of just dealing with decorations and such this year. Yes, my post the other day was in the midst of putting up the tree. However, it's up now, and I just have a few little touches to finish up the rest of my decorating. The smell of cinnamon (still my favorite at Christmas) is starting to permeate the house. It wasn't easy, but it is worth it to me. I'm not saying that everyone that's going through a hard time should force themselves to put up decorations. It's different for each person.
Taken out by the Christmas tree again this year. However, it's really no match for the people in my life (like you!) that I can tell about it, and you get it and you care. And now that it's up, it's a good thing.