Deck the halls with boughs of holly; Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la, ‘Tis the season to be jolly, Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la. Don we now our gay apparel Fa-la-la, la-la-la, la-la-la. Troll the ancient Yule-tide carol Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
‘Tis the season for me, once more, to shake my head in disbelief; so much so that I will probably end up with a stiff neck in a few days. I love the Holiday season, it’s a precious time for me to wonder about more strange human behavior on display. It’s fun to watch Santa Claus compete with Jesus in the annual world financial heavyweight bout.
I went to the store to buy a tube of silicone to seal off a minor plumbing oops in a design project. Navigating between the cluttered aisles full of “festive” decorations made in China, I managed to make it to the long cashier’s line. An aisle violator was strategically placed to inform waiting customers that “Christmas isn’t complete without the perfect tree.” My favorite sign remains the one I saw earlier, offering a “faux fir that looks freshly cut” for $1269. I tried to think of the genius who came up with such a brilliant idea.
How can anyone resist the clever ads: “Real fresh-cut trees have the distinctive, pleasant evergreen smell and feel. Picking out each year’s tree is a treasured holiday custom for many families. Live trees require some preparation and care, but traditionalists feel this is a valuable part of the holidays.
When you get the tree home, cut a 1/2-inch-thick disk from the base. (or the store can make the cut for you.) This slice is critical; when trees are cut in the field, they produce a layer of sap that seals the cut. This layer prevents water from rising up the trunk. The cut opens the vascular system for water intake. Ideally, after making the cut, place the tree in a bucket of water and let it absorb fresh water for several hours before placing it in the tree stand.” Pure brilliance!
The best moments of this Yuletide season is when I connect with the same “over-caring” strangers I meet all year long. Yes, the ones my mom warned me about, the ones always ready to ask stupid questions. Do I have a preference for an artificial or a live Christmas tree? Do I prefer to say “happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas”. As gently and politely as possible, I try to inform them that I don’t do Christmas or any other so-called holidays. It’s the same trap I used every year, because it works so well.
After a moment of insincere shock, they always seem convinced they can help change my mind. Or, at the least, have me accept their nonsense. That gives me a chance to educate them, because they don’t have a clue about the reason behind the festivities they partake in.
It doesn’t usually take long for them to hear my reasons for avoiding the nonsense of “Christmas”. The “live” tree that they purchased a couple of days ago was a dead tree. $80 for a dead pine tree? That’s not too smart in my book. Why do people refer to a cut tree as a live one, is beyond my understanding. Then, there is no such thing as a Christmas tree; it’s a cut dead pine tree which is a shade higher than a broken dead pine branch. The $1269 faux fir, in the store, is a plastic thing that looks nothing like a tree; and it certainly doesn’t look freshly cut.
Moreover, the financial reason for the season manages to evade their short-term memory. 20 to 40% of yearly sales for small and mid-sized retailers take place within the last two months of the year (National Retail Federation). 55% of consumers plan to visit stores on shopping days like Black Friday or Cyber Monday (Accenture). 40% of consumers begin shopping before Halloween (National Retail Foundation).
So much money is at stake, that there is even a NCTA. The National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA) is the national trade association representing the Christmas tree industry. NCTA represents more than 700 active member farms, 29 state and regional associations, and more than 4,000 affiliated businesses that grow and sell Christmas trees or provide related supplies and services. Members are located throughout North America, as well as in South America and Europe. It is estimated that those affiliated with the NCTA produce roughly three-quarters of the farm-raised Christmas trees in the United States.
NCTA’s mission: The need for a recognized, nationwide Real Christmas Tree community, with the desire to have its voice heard, has never been stronger. The NCTA represents the Real Christmas Tree community with one voice to protect and advocate on the industry’s behalf.
NCTA’s vision: NCTA’s vision is that a farm-grown tree is a part of every Christmas celebration.
The power companies are the only ones with a bigger smile than mine, at Christmastime. They enjoy the same dream as the lottery and religion: fleecing the uneducated.
On a more mundane note, revelers seem oblivious to the true origin of the holidays that many are celebrating? What is the meaning of the bug infested, overpriced dead pine tree that many drag in their houses? What is the meaning of the decorative balls that hang on the dead tree? What is the meaning of the lights draped over the tree? Why are presents placed under the dead tree? Why is there an angel sitting on top of the dead pine tree?
A few are willing to argue ad nauseum, that Christmas is a celebration of Jesus’ birth. Really? Was Jesus born on December 25th? What year was it? Because there was no Jesus before the council of Nicaea. Do you celebrate your “birth-day” on a different day?
And why are Christians celebrating a pagan holiday that is clearly forbidden in the bible?
Jeremiah 10:2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.5 They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.
What someone does in the privacy of his/her life, doesn’t affect me in any way, shape or form. It’s none of my business. To display your belief in a public forum invites criticism, even if that criticism exposes you as a goofball. People, who don’t like their beliefs being laughed at, shouldn’t have such funny beliefs.
So, during the next few days off, I plan on laughing at whoever leaves milk and cookies for Santa, anyone who celebrates the birth of a fairy which never existed, people who cannot provide evidence for whatever they want me to believe in, and the few who will get too cozy with Captain Morgan. Do your thing and let the laughs happen where they are enjoyed.
“A word to the wise ain’t necessary, it is the stupid ones who need all the advice.”