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Monday, January 6, 2014

An Epiphany - How to Dispose of One's Christmas Tree

January 6th, Epiphany, is the official end to the Christmas Season, which, despite how retailers spin it, begins each year on December 25th, not October 15th. Purists put their Christmas trees up on Christmas Eve (or closer to Christmas Eve than Thanksgiving Day) and take them down today.

This is my 2013 tree. It is the most perfect evergreen ever to grace the halls of Porchaven. I am sad to see it leave us today. But leave us, it must.

Herein lies the issue of this post, however. And folks who hid every hint of the holidays in their garages by the close of New Year's Day think those of us who didn't are just avoiding conflict. They think our reluctance to remove ornaments and lights has nothing to do with waiting for Epiphany and everything to do with putting off the inevitable problem until it forces us to face it. It's a problem that everyone who puts up a live Christmas tree must face: What to do with the tree when it's done.

My mama, a.k.a. the Diving Granny, a.k.a. the Apple Picking Granny, proposes a solution. She says she tried it herself and that it works. No need to mar the curb with a dead yuletide soldier or pay a fee for haul-away services.

Step 1: Take off all ornaments and lights and throw them into boxes. Don't worry that you had a big fit when you took them out this year and vowed to be more organized about putting them away. You cussed the knots out of the light strands two or three weeks ago, and you won't forget how that's done between now and next Christmas. What would Christmas be, anyway, without a few well-placed expletives?

Step 2: Drag the needle-dropping carcass out the door and toss it into the truck bed. If you don't own a truck, borrow one from a friend. It's an essential element in this fool-proof plan to unload the arborvitae. Granted, it might work to place the behemoth on the top of your car, but it will require several attempts to rid yourself of the responsibility of it. And you may draw attention to yourself. You DO NOT want to draw attention to yourself.

Step 3: Wives and girlfriends, if they choose, may stay home to vacuum the carpet. There's nothing worse than a brittle evergreen fragment piercing one's sock and subsequent foot flesh on a day when the tree and Christmas are long forgotten. Husbands and boyfriends do not have the option of staying home to vacuum. Husbands and boyfriends will be taking the truck out to run errands without taking any shortcuts or avoiding back roads. In fact, back roads are best.

Step 4: After riding for awhile be sure to check the tree in your rear-view mirror. If you don't see it, don't panic. This is the best part of the disposal plan. Your errands are complete. You're free to return home.

Step 5: If you look in your rear view mirror and don't see the tree but do see blue lights, pull over. This is not part of the Apple Picking Granny's disposal plan. She nonetheless advises that whatever you do, don't lie. Littering the shoulder of the road with a spent evergreen is one thing. Lying about it is quite another. So, admit that yes you saw the tree and that it looks to you like someone cut it down. Offer to clean it up since you have a truck. After collecting it, give your best to the officer and continue on your mission basking in the glow of being a good citizen and doing a good deed. Repeat step 4 (and step 5, if necessary).

Step 6: Go home, relax and break your New Year's Resolutions by Valentine's Day. Don't feel guilty about your method of discarding the tree or disregarding the resolutions. Lent will arrive just in time to give us all an opportunity to repent and polish ourselves.


Jo said...

Think my comment disappeared into cyber space. As I said, don't have a real tree so don't have the problem of disposal.

I don't take down decorations til Epiphany (12th Night) either. Used to be traditional in England, not sure it is now.

Lucy Adams said...

It is a wonderful tradition. I am so sad to take down our tree today. I hate to see the season end. Our house will seem bare without its happy glow.

Jo said...

That's very true Lucy, the place does look bare once you take down the decorations. eventually one gets used to it again, but at the beginning it seems horrid.

Serena said...

We have a friend who takes his to the backyard in the stand and leaves it there until June or July, when he has a big party and sets the tree on fire. It's a quick and impressive burn.

Lucy Adams said...

I also know of some people who reserve their tree in the stand in their backyard. They don't burn it, however. When December arrives, they have it flocked three times and use it again. This is an interesting custom, but probably not as impressive as a fire.

Michelle said...

I took my tree down really early this year; it had a weird smell. Two days after Christmas I'd had it. Now it is resting out in the yard. If we do what we did last year, my husband will drag it behind the garage and come summer time, use it for a backyard bonfire, hotdogs and smores!

Lucy Adams said...

I hope the fiery end will kill the odd smell of your tree.

A lady I worked with several years ago threw her tree out before Christmas because it had a bad odor. She never could figure out why, but she didn't buy from the same tree farm again.

I suppose the moral is that not only are trees bigger in the house than in the field, they are also smellier.

William Kendall said...

Oh, that's funny!

When my parents were living in cottage country where they could count on snow lasting into April, Dad would simply plant the trunk of the tree into a good snowbank, and it would stand upright until spring. It would end up in the fire pit after that.