Monday, December 18, 2006
Another Charlie Brown Christmas
Not the TV show. I'm talking real life here.
A few weeks ago my friend Becky Garrison sent me an email that included a poster from Buy Nothing Christmas. Becky is a contributing editor for The Door ("The World's Pretty Much Only Religious Satire Magazine"), and that should tell you a whole lot about her. Anyway, the group helps people resist the barrage of Christmas come-ons that fuel their addiction to holiday spending. What I appreciate most about their effort is the group's lack of judgmentalism and legalism. They don't expect people to abandon Christmas or gift-giving entirely; the group helps them take incremental steps toward transforming the focus of the holiday season from consumer anxiety to stress-free joy.
Back to Charlie Brown, or rather his legendary Christmas tree. Last year we chose to rescue the worst tree on the lot from the shame of being overlooked. Not that that's a metaphor for our own lives or anything. We bought a scrawny little tree, placed it front and center in our home, decked it out for the big day, and felt all warm and good-hearted. But this year a mite infestation cleaned out the area's supply of trees before we even had a chance to get to a lot to buy one. Not to worry. We live on a wooded acre. Surely we could find something to use as a Christmas tree.
Mind you, we live in Florida. "Wooded" is at best a symbolic term. We have lots of live oaks, palmettos, and all manner of scrubby junk that grows in sandy soil. We used to have a half-dozen or so longleaf pines, but we lost them to a series of hurricanes. And besides, they were 50-feet high, and well, longleaf pines -- a bit lacking in the branch-and-needle department.
So we were left with longleaf spawns, which look kind of like branches of real pine trees that somehow got speared upright into the ground. One of these babies is now sitting in a tree stand that's bigger than the tree itself. We just have to figure out how to put a string of lights on it; the branches -- and I use that term loosely -- are too fragile to bear the weight of a normal string of lights. I thought about going to Michael's and getting a string or two of dollhouse lights, but that would defeat the purpose, you know?
We don't remember our Christmas tree from 1985 or 1993 or 2002. But we'll never forget this one. It's a symbol of our Buy Very Little, Lighten Up, Laugh a Lot attitude toward Christmas over the past few years. Who knew? Who knew that a Charlie Brown kind of Christmas would prove to be the best kind of all?
Charles Schulz would be pleased, I'm sure.