Take down that Christmas tree
By Lisa Smartt
Friends, it’s mid-January and it’s time to make a clean break. The party’s over. The end has come. Hold my hand and read these words very carefully. Take it down. Walk slowly toward the corner of your living room and take the Christmas tree down. Don’t think about it. Don’t stop to watch the “Charlie Brown Christmas Special” on video “just one more time.” No. Put the video away. Take the lights down. Take the fuzzy Santa door knocker down. Take the dried up poinsettia and deposit it in the trash can outside the laundry room. No. No. Don’t put that poinsettia in the garage. Stop! Don’t do it! I don’t care what your Aunt Ethel said about caring for that dried up poinsettia until next Christmas. No. Stop and think! I promise with all journalistic integrity that next Christmas you will be able to purchase a poinsettia at a reasonable price. IF there are no poinsettias for sale in West Tennessee next December, I will come to your home and string popcorn. I’ll make gingerbread cookies. I’ll even sing “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” a cappella. I promise. However, if you choose not to take my advice concerning the poinsettias, I can’t protect you from the mild depression you will experience when you look in the garage in mid-April and see four or five dried up poinsettias piled in a corner next to a dusty Bowflex™ machine. That just has “failure” written all over it. It’s the New Year. You don’t need the stress. I have full confidence in your tenacity and ability. I am cheering you on. Go get that Christmas box. It’s time to fill it to the brim.
Even after reading my first paragraph, some of you may STILL be experiencing a lack of motivation in taking down your Christmas items. For you, let me provide this very solemn warning. I realize there are people who leave their icicle lights up year round. I know. There are people who leave their tree up until July. Some people leave the dusty Santa stocking on the mantel for months and months. It happens. To some of you, this may seem perfectly “normal.” Let me illustrate how quickly “normal” can take a terrible turn. Take notes.
It’s such a slippery slope. You see, it all starts with leaving up the tree and the lights. Pretty soon there are 26 stray cats living inside the house. Next comes an unnatural obsession with the Regis and Kelly Show. Prepare yourself for an addiction to the shopping channel. Pretty soon you’re eating dry cat food late at night and stalking David Letterman. You may even start selling “Elvis memorabilia” online. I’m serious. A year-round Christmas tree can severely blur your reasoning. You start to believe that the Hawaiian shirt from your high school graduation party is the EXACT one Elvis wore in “Blue Hawaii.”
What’s that? Yeah, I know. You’re putting down the newspaper and getting the Christmas box out of the attic, aren’t you? Good for you. And don’t forget about the poinsettia. While you’re at the trash can, why don’t you go ahead and toss that “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” CD? Go ahead. Make the world a more beautiful place.
Editor’s note: Lisa Smartt’s column appears each Wednesday in the Friends and Neighbors section of The Messenger. Mrs. Smartt is the wife of Philip Smartt, the University of Tennessee at Martin parks and recreation and forestry professor, and is mother to two boys, Stephen and Jonathan. She is a freelance writer and speaker. Her book “The Smartt View: Life, Love, and Cluttered Closets” is available at The Messenger, The University of Tennessee at Martin bookstore or by mail for $10, plus $2 shipping. Send checks to Lisa Smartt, 300 Parrott Road, Dresden TN 38225. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in The Messenger 1.16.08