I hate to admit that I’m just not into Christmas anymore. I took heart this year when a few major retailers decided against staying open on Thanksgiving. And, too, Black Friday was a bit of a flop. That’s reason enough for Scrooges like me to celebrate.
The last few years I’ve dragged my chains about decorating for Christmas. I’ve always said, if ever I decide against having a real tree, I won’t get an artifiicial one either. My friends have tried to convince me otherwise. “So easy,” they crow. “Just pop the sections together, the lights are already in place, and all you do is put your ornaments on.”
I continue to hold out. For the last two years we’ve bought our tree from a lot, instead of cutting one ourselves as we’ve done for more than thirty years. Last year we found a perfect tree right away. The weather was blustery and snowflakes swirled, big mood-boosters for me.
The tree-set-up went about as usual with lots of adjustments this way and that, but finally it looked just right.
Peter carried it inside without my help — it was that small — and set it in place. “It’s not quite straight,” I said. In fact, it wasn’t quite straight no matter which direction I viewed it from, no matter which way he turned the screws. That poor tree needed a chiropractor, physical therapy, and probably a crutch, too.
I’d “used down” our old incandescent white lights until there was only one string left. I bought “warm white” LEDs, but they were actually “icy blue.” I didn’t use them and instead, lay the two strings of our old exterior white lights on the sheet under the tree for a sparkly-snow effect.
Last year I bought another five strings of “warm white” LEDs, but only two were the so-called “warm” color. I used those and shelved the others. Once again the old lights went under the tree. Nobby loves to snooze there. He looks like a fluffy stuffed animal destined for a little girl’s bed. [Left: “Nobby” lookalike I bought in Edinburg, Scotland.]
In yesterday’s Roanoke Times, columnist Catherine Van Noy had similar thoughts to mine: “I hate to admit this, but I can come across as a real Scrooge.” She confesses to “consistent reluctance to engage fully in the holidays.” Her defense is “…this season has become so deeply adulterated by commercialism that it just doesn’t feel good anymore.” Sad. True.
Van Noy, who is much younger than I, writes about a wonderful spot nearby that “harkens to a simpler time.” The Draper Mercantile*, a reborn building, started out as a general store in the early 1800s. Transformed now into a delightful restaurant and cluster of charming shops, it’s a captivating wonderland.
A visit to “The Merc” restores the spirit. I’ve been before, but I need to go again. Maybe today?
*The Draper Mercantile, 3054 Greenbriar Road, Draper, VA