Thursday, January 4, 2018

In the Grip of Melancholia

Happens every year around this time, I see my first discarded Christmas tree.

'Tis always a sight which depresses me. While I understand that having a (formerly) live tree in the house when it has become dry and brittle is a fire hazard, that's the practical me, the guy who has to live in the real world like everyone else.

But that is no balm to my inner child.

That little guy wants it to be Christmas the year 'round. Who wants people to live in peace and harmony with one another. That little guy is obviously not a realist.

I wrote about the annual discarding of the Christmas tree last year, which you can read here, if you have a mind to (and you should, for I thought it a very good piece of writing, if'n you don't mind me saying so).

Now that little tree in the opening photo is the tree we celebrated Christmas around on our trip down to Virginia. It wasn't there when we arrived early on Saturday morning, no, it was part of The Nuke's plan to have the parental units along to select the tree, do the Christmas dinner grocery shopping, and a number of other things which needed to be accomplished before Christmas.

After a trip to the Marine Corps Exchange on what the modern military insists on calling "Joint Base Myer," but which to me shall always be Fort Myer, and a quick stop at the The Vineyard for to purchase beverages of an adult nature, it was off to find a tree.

The distaff members of the tribe were eyeing trees in the four to six foot range and bemoaning the fact that they were so expensive, relatively speaking I guess. We haven't purchased a live tree since 1982, so what did I know? That's when my eye fell upon the little guy in the opening photo (and I'm not assuming its gender one way or the other, I tend to use the word "guy" in a unisexual way, much to the frustration of a number of females of my acquaintance) standing along with a number of other hobbit-sized trees. (All from two to three feet in height.)

The Nuke immediately concurred with my desire to have this little tree, pronouncing it perfectly shaped and didn't she know exactly where to put it in her apartment. The Missus Herself thought the asking price a bit much as, "Christmas is two days from now, you'd think they'd have a sale or something," but no, they did not.

As the place was a gardening center (or whatever they're called) it wasn't like they'd all be out of work the day after Christmas, I thought at first. Though after further reflection, many of the employees on site probably were out of a job the day after Christmas, most gardening places I know of shut down the day after Christmas. No doubt after making a lot of money selling Christmas trees and wreathes. Or so one hopes. I often wonder what they do the rest of the winter, until spring when they reopen.

Anyhoo, thinking back on all this, as I do every year, leaves me a bit saddened for I do love Christmas so. While I personally don't consider Christmas over until Epiphany, everyone else around me consider it all said and done by New Year's Eve. I've seen Christmas trees out on the street or in dumpsters on Christmas afternoon! (Though these are probably folks who put the tree up around Thanksgiving.)

Before anyone starts suggesting remedies to this wee bout of post-holiday depression, from which many suffer - mine is a mild case, I assure you, dinna fash yersel' on my behalf. There are times I like to wallow in what I like to call "the sweet sadness," I can't really explain it, it just is. I always snap out of it, usually the first day back at work (which occurs on the 8th of January this year) as I walk to the front door of my place of employment.

Usually marveling at just how fast the vacation went by and trying to remember what the heck I was doing when the order to "down tools" was given back in December.

And so it goes...

Christmas tree made entirely of stacked poinsettias, Reagan National Airport, 29 December 2017. (I thought it delightful!)


  1. Those "bay's" on the upper level at Reagan make nice display/presentation spots. I don't think they use them like that enough.


    1. I've only really noticed them around Christmas, so you're right L.J.

  2. Watching the trees be disposed of is one of the many, but one of the primary reasons I went artificial.

    Plus, in the fake tree's defense, the branches are much stronger and so the tree can hold more neat ornaments (wife and I like to find pretty ornaments, like the German glass ones, especially the old time ones.)

    But I still miss the smell. Don't miss the sinus issues associated with something green being in the house, but I do miss the smell.

    On the other hand, fakers are so much more adaptable. Moved from house where 7' fake tree was just right to an apartment where it definitely wasn't. Got the smart idea of only setting up the top half of the tree, and only branching one half of it so it fit flat against the wall. One quick base knocked together out of scrap, plop on table (with chunk of concrete to keep it from falling off of table) and, et voila! One magnifique tree that can display some of our ornaments. Ah, well.

    1. Yes, we do artificial now, when I last had a live tree we lived in Denver. No forest to take it to, out to the curb it went.

      I did miss the smell though.

  3. Once set up, I’m not in any rush to take down the tree 🌲
    It’s reusable and the only drawback is it’s a dust catcher.
    I really dislike seeing the previously live trees being discarded.

    Back up north, the scouts used to collect them, haul them to one of the reservoirs, and build fish habitat out of them.

    1. I saw an article about the Air Force doing something like that down in Florida. Looked odd, but a better use than landfill!

  4. I totally get what mean, Chris; I feel exactly the same way. Then again, I could sit and stare at a Christmas tree forever. So pretty.

    1. I can get lost in the glittering ornaments and sparkling lights. Gives me a great sense of inner peace and contentment.

  5. Thanks for the post. Cheer up, only four more days until back to the salt mine, uh, work.

    Paul L. Quandt

    1. Where I intend to begin the countdown to retirement. Which, if all goes well, is planned for the last day of December in the Year of Our Lord Twenty and Nineteen. God willing and the creek don't rise.

  6. Chris, one of these days we are going to get in sync. You seem to schedule your DC trips when I'm in faraway places (currently about as far South on the Florida Gulf Coast as possible). Your trip to the Marine Exchange brings back many memories but I do have to mention that it was not at Fort Myer, it was Henderson Hall, named for Archibald Henderson, Commandant of the Marine Corps from 1820 until his death in 1858. He served so long as Commandant (38 years) that he forgot that the Commandant's House at Eighth and I was government property and he attempted to pass it to his heirs in his will. He is also the fellow who closed up the Marine Barracks at 8th & I at the start of the Seminole War, and nailed a note to the door "Have gone to Florida to fight the Indians. Will be back when the war is over." Now that was Old Corps!

    1. Yes, it still is Henderson Hall and it is (technically) adjacent to Fort Myer. The whole thing is now call "Joint Base Myer," which I still refer to as Fort Myer. As a member of the junior service and an ignorant pup to boot, I referred to the whole thing as Fort Myer. I stand (figuratively speaking, as I am actually sitting) corrected. Now I know why my retired Navy buddy (a corpsman who served the bulk of his career with the Marines) gave me a funny look when I mentioned the MCX being on Fort Myer.

      All becomes clear.

      I have been by 8th & I (a storied place which embodies a great deal of history and tradition). I can picture the note nailed to the front door of the Commandant's House.

      Someday Dave, someday.

  7. I know what you mean. My birthday is January 6, so no Christmas tree ever comes down until then. I have an uncle, who when he was a poor struggling lawyer just starting out would send our Christmas presents to arrive on Epiphany, "just like the wise men did it". I don't know, I was not around then, rumors to the contrary!
    But I was bummed today, when I went back to work, and tried to play Christmas music. Nope. The stations that have been playing it since the beginning of November have gone back to their normal broadcasting. I like Christmas music, and have been known to be caught humming it in July.
    Oh, well. Next year I will be able to listen to it again on the radio.
    BTW, I like your little tree.
    And so far as what do folks in gardening centers do after Christmas...the lady who runs the local greenhouse is busy planting like crazy to get the plants that we all want to buy come May up and going.

    1. Ah, Saturday. Stop by and we'll all (virtually) sing Happy Birthday!

      Yes, Christmas music you'd think they'd at least go until Epiphany. Oh well.

      Yes, planting, I hadn't thought of that, being a non-gardener (in our garden I'm just the "rented mule").

    2. Get yourself a small cd player and a stack of disks. Or some MP3 thingy and lots of tunes. That way you can play the ones you like and avoid those 'other' songs... If your work place allows such a thing.

    3. Not a bad idea. Lot of folks at my place of employment do that, I'd recommend ear buds though.

    4. my work place is my car, so I can play whatever I like as loud as I like whenever I like. And I do.:)
      But I do turn it off when getting close to the patient's house...
      And, yes, I do have so cd's so I can enjoy whatever I'm in the mood for.


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