O Christmas Tree, O Super Bowl

by Kevin Burton

    At my house the season to be jolly coincides with football season, at least in part.  Here’s how.

    I got this from a friend I used to work with in Columbus. He shall remain nameless because you wouldn’t know him and so my wife Jeannette won’t be able to hunt him down and attack him for having given me such a notion.

   This guy is sports obsessed to a degree I could never hope to achieve, which is saying something.

   He told me he takes down his Christmas tree each year on Super Bowl Sunday. That, I thought, is awesome!

   It always made me sad to take the tree down right after New Year’s Day. I love the blinking lights most of all. Greater December – December plus a few days of November and January – never was enough for me.

    The NFL’s greed in pushing their season further and further into February just extends my Christmas tree time.  Jeannette, to her credit, has tolerated this with equanimity.

   Here is how it works most years if the game is actually watchable. This is a measure of how tired Jeannette is of having the tree up: The first-half clock ticks down to zeros and I take a bathroom break.  By the time I come out to help take the tree down, it is already 60 to 65 percent dismantled. 

  The NFL invented this ridiculously long halftime extravaganza thing, seemingly to give the Burtons time to take the tree down. But with Jeannette in charge of the mission, the tree comes down in much less than a halftime. It takes about as long as one of those officials’ reviews.

   “After further review, the ruling in the house is, Christmas season is over. Please reset the calendar to Valentine’s Day!” 

   Super Sunday is the day that “O Christmas Tree,” that traditional carol, (sample lyric “O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, your branches green delight us”) turns into a blues number (“your lights are gone…and I can’t go on…”). 

    We have a tall lamp that for the rest of the year, goes where the Christmas tree goes.  We like that lamp a lot. We bought it at an annual garage sale my old non-profit used to have as a fundraiser. 

  The lamp is colorful. The shade has blue, green, purple and tan, and bits of red. It’s really cool, but it’s no Christmas tree.   

   A Taco Bell Chihuahua sits atop our tree, where you probably have a star or an angel.  You don’t see that every day! You remember these dogs? If you squeeze it, it says “Yo quiero Taco Bell.” 

   Well we have a different one that wears a Christmas hat. If you squeeze it, it says “Feliz Navidad amigos.”

  We thought it was hilarious for the first few years. It’s less funny now but the tree doesn’t look right without it.

  But the dog, the lights, the tinsel, the ornaments that speak to the places we’ve been and the people we love, all that, comes down next Sunday, to be boxed up and ignored for months on end.

   You faithful readers, you know me a little bit by now. You know without my telling you that I’ve been thinking of excuses to leave the tree up, just a little bit longer.  

   If we keep it up until March we can “march forth” on March the fourth into the new season, the Spring of the year, new spring in our step. Onward!

   If we leave it up until tax day we can glory in the fact that we get to keep the entire tree for ourselves!

   I’ve heard it said that you can tell the age of a fake Christmas tree by the number of tape rings on the box that holds it.

   Our tree is beyond that now. Last year we realized we had more tape than box, so we had to move on. We have a spiffy red bag that holds the tree. Sadly, it is almost time for me to locate that bag now.

   Hmmm, and eureka! What a shame it would be….if I couldn’t….find…the bag!

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