The neighbors a half block north cast their Christmas tree out the door yesterday and deposited it at the curb to await pickup, still trailing an icicle or two. Kind of sad, but it looked awfully dry --- obviously not watered --- so you understand why.
I, on the other hand, pulled out the chair that blocks convenient access to this little thing and finished decorating it, a task begun during the week before Christmas then abandoned as the days got busier. Now it's done and will sit in the corner behind that chair and glitter at least through the end of January, probably longer.
I've had this tree, bought as a supplement when ornaments overflowed a larger one, a long time. It's a convenient size, nicely shaped, stores efficiently and has survived others, long since given away. Haven't had a live tree since moving from the house with the big fireplace in the living room into the chimneypiece of which I could drive a nail to which the annual tree was wired, thereby preventing it from falling over. I've never been good at convincing live trees to stand up.
What's hanging on the tree represents maybe a fourth of the available decorations, but I ran out of branches.
Most of the ornaments have no particular meaning, but some do. Every time I hang a small brass disk with embossed musical symbols I think of Shirley Vinz, a kind and gracious friend who gave these to all Zion Choir members at Christmas one year, then died in a car crash during the summer that followed.
Ordinarily, you wouldn't see the plastic urn to which the tree is permanently affixed. But I was too lazy to haul the big plant that occupies the cache pot into which the tree usually is deposited upstairs, so the plant still has pride of place in the front windows and the tree has been relegated to a corner.
The old piano stool (with glass ball feet) upon which the tree stands has a story, too. The top, broken then glued back together, became unsuitable for seating maybe 80 years ago and was recycled as a plant stand. I remember it first in the east window of the downstairs bedroom of my grandfather's farm house, supporting the Christmas cactus that had been his mother's.
The cactus itself bloomed hot pink with great enthusiasm every Christmas in an old enameled cooking pot that had sprung a leak, allowing adequate drainage --- creative recycling back in waste-not, want-not days.
I'd rather have a live tree, frankly, but ....
These used to be cleared of their glittery ornaments after Epiphany, rehung with suet, hauled out back and stuck in a snow drift for the birds, then sawed up and added to a bonfire in the spring.
Alternately, I once attended a New Year's Eve gathering out in the country where discarded trees had been deposited in a pile. We burned them at midnight, welcoming the new year with a beacon.