best-laid plans

My parents came to Lynchburg tonight and we went out to dinner. We were making small talk about this and that and I asked what was going on with them this weekend.

“I think we might take down the Christmas tree,” Mom said without a whole lot of conviction. In fact, she sounded kind of bummed about it.

Yep, that’s right. It’s January 25th and the Family HQ (Artificial) Christmas Tree is still standing proud in the middle of the house. I stopped by there briefly last weekend on my way back from Asheville and it was not only still standing, but still fully decorated and plugged in. So I don’t know why I’m surprised that it’s still right exactly where it’s been since mid-December. I’m very prone to believing things have changed when, in fact, they may never change. The tree’s no exception.

You might call them a word that rhymes with daisy, but I won’t say it. My parents really get into Christmas, and they have a bit of trouble letting it go. I’m not quite sure what the record is for leaving the tree up, but I feel like we may be approaching it this year. We might even break it. I know for sure that it doesn’t ever budge an inch on New Year’s Day or even within a week of it. My mom says she’s thinking she might not want to take it down at all. It’s pretty, she says, and it makes her happy to see the lights when she wakes up in the morning.

Meanwhile, the cats continue to run around the house with tinsel hanging out of their butts.

I was in the middle of Target a couple of weeks ago talking to Sammi on my cell phone, and she asked me if I’d heard what Mom had planned for the tree. As it turns out, Mom came up with this plan to rotate the decorations on the tree so that it’d be a theme tree and she could leave it up all the time. I contemplated the thought of permanently adding a 7-foot-tall fake tree to the family home decor, and Sammi went on to elaborate on Mom’s plans for the tree:

February: little hearts and stuff
March: green things, shamrocks, leprechauns
April: bunnies, eggs, Easter stuff
May: flowers? I think? something about May Day maybe
July: bunches of little flags, Americana
Labor Day: tiny little coffins.

I was following along right up until we got to the Labor Day coffins.

“Labor Day?” I asked Sammi. “Really? Did she mean Halloween?” She told me that they asked Mom the same thing, and she said that wasn’t it. “You know, coffins,” Mom said. “For the veterans.”

Ohh. She meant VETERAN’S DAY. We think.

I’ve always kind of felt like Veteran’s Day was for the living veterans and Memorial Day was for the dead ones, but what the hell do I know? My mother’s a veteran of the Navy and has worked in a veteran’s hospital for like fifteen years, so she’s the expert. I asked why we couldn’t just honor the veterans with American flags or something like normal people do. (Normal people who probably aren’t planning to leave a full-sized Christmas tree up in the middle of their houses all year long, but, you know, minor detail.) It seems we can’t use American flags for Veteran’s Day because we already used them on the 4th of July, so we can’t repeat it. And we can’t use coffins on the Halloween tree because that’s when we’ll have cats and pumpkins and ghosts.

I am sure anyone at Target who overheard this conversation thinks I am absolutely 100% bugfuck crazy, incidentally.

The tree’s still up, so you never know. We may find ourselves staring at a Veteran’s Day tree decorated with tiny coffins in November. So if you know a place where we can buy a few dozen tiny coffin ornaments, do please let me know.

11 Replies to “best-laid plans”

  1. Thing One – I think I hold the family tree left up record so far. Mine didn’t come down last year until almost the end of February.

    Thing 2 – I think that Veteran’s Day is in November.. the 11th I think.

  2. fyi – I know when Veteran’s day is (November 11th) and I meant Memorial Day and headstones, not Labor Day and coffins. Although last week at work I labored until they almost killed me so maybe that was a premonition…

  3. Well i believe i will top all of you. One of the last Christmas’ we had with our mom the tree stayed up, fully decorated, and lights until July (yup thats right less than 6 months before it would go up again)…

    and I believe a couple other times we made it till March…

  4. I guess that’s just a parent thing because my mom leaves her tree up all year long, unless I go take it down. But at what point do I need to stop doing that?

    But that is very funny about the coffins! You have to give your mom points for creativity!

  5. wow, that’s kind of bizarre. although, i saw a family on ‘wife swap’ that kept a fully decorated christmas tree up all year because they had this totally spoiled pageant daughter (all their doing) that they gave a gift to EVERY DAY. wtf!?

    anyway, that’s definitely *eccentric,* if nothing else. my mom does all the decorations for every holiday, and i find it a little … much? to be honest, it would be a little more manageable if she could focus it all in one place. like a tree.

    as far as the cats … NO TINSEL! they can totally get it wrapped around their insides and die. boo. :/

  6. Jocelyn,

    I hear you on the decorations for all seasons. I have been recently told that I need to remove all of my stuff from the attic because there is no longer room for all the christmas, halloween, valentine’s day, st. patricks day, easter, fourth of july, and many many more…

    I mean seriously she needs to find something else to do with her time than to spend money on decorations that SHE NO LONGER HAS ROOM TO STORE THEM, and most of them never get used. I see clean house in my parents future but I feel they would kill me if i did this!

  7. Okay, I see a challenge in Nick’s response of “I believe I will top you all”. So, the tree remains up and lit!

  8. I think of memorial day — in May — as more of a coffin time. Veterans Day I think of as more of an opportunity to honor living veterans — so I would use maybe Army, Navy, Marine symbols and color print-outs of medals and things.

    For labor day, maybe miniature hammers and tiny keyboards and nails and other symbols of hard work.

    You know… IF I was going to decorate a year-round tree…

  9. nick … man, i’d have the australian clean sweep dude at my parents’ house in TWO seconds if i thought they would do it. seriously.

    every time i’m at my p’s house, my dad claims there’s “going to be a big cleaning day.” and then i say, “i’ll come up and help.” and i swear to you, the moment i say we should get rid of ONE thing, my mom starts saying NO NO NO ….

    last weekend, i said, yeah!! let’s get rid of this, and this and this, and she started in and i just looked at her and said, “you want to keep kids’ videos? seriously? who are you saving them for? ashley’s (my 10 year old niece who doesn’t need 3-yr-old’s stuff) kids?”

    to be honest, i’m a pack rat, and if someone started to try and throw MY stuff away, i’d throw a hissy. so i get it, but still. where’s the aussie!?!?

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