Since she can't keep her Christmas tree up all year long, Christina Antus looks for other ways to hang on to the warmth and joy of the season.
We still get a real tree. I’m not ready for an artificial one, yet.
We also leave it up until the Epiphany.
The smell is still strong if you sit close enough.
By the time Epiphany rolls around, the last remnants of the season are usually wrapped up in the glow of tree lights that have brightened our home and our lives every evening for over a month. The smell of fresh cookies is gone, and stations have stopped playing Christmas music.
We haven’t, though, because we get an entire Christmas season.
There’s actually a rumor going around that I listen to Christmas music year-round.
Tradition says if Christmas decorations are not taken down on Epiphany, they should be left up until February 2, which is Candlemas and that is the celebration of the presentation of the infant Jesus in the temple. We never go that long, although last year we left our Christmas lights up until Candlemas, right through Lent, and all of Easter. They came down before the 4th of July.
The season of Advent and Christmas goes so quickly now that I’m an adult. I wish it would slow down just a little so that I could enjoy it more deeply. So I could marvel in the magical feeling like I did when I was a child. It’s still there, I’m just too busy to really soak it in.
This is my favorite time of year.
For me, nothing beats the tradition of Christmas.
Still, all things come to an end and my husband said we can’t keep the tree and decorations up around the house until July. With a real tree, he’s got a valid point. After early January, it starts to become a fire hazard.
So, on to Valentine’s Day we go, and into the boxes go the cozy Christmas village, and the garland, the polar express train that zipped around around the Christmas tree for weeks, and the homemade counter decor that we used as nightlights. Down come the ribbon littered with Christmas cards affixed with clothespins, and away go the children’s Christmas books.
Back into their designated boxes and bins go the cozy warmth of the Christmas season where it will sit and wait for eleven more months before we welcome it back out again.
Until then, I’ll try and carry the spirit of that warmth into the rest of the year with the changing seasons. I may not be able to hang beautiful multi-colored lights around my house year 'round and the stations have quit playing Christmas music, but I can always have the spirit of Christmas with me and, really, we all should.
As Catholics we should always be in a perpetual season of penance and giving. We should always be hopeful and wait in eager anticipation of the return of our Lord.
So, until He returns, carry that warmth and joy with you wherever you go and listen to Christmas music if it helps.
Even if it’s year-round.
Copyright 2021 Christina Antus
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