In the old days, people put their trees up much later than they do now.  My family put it up the week before Christmas and Mother took it down first thing on January 2nd.  Our tree was skinny so you could hang ornaments inside the branches.  We had those colored candle-shaped lights that bubbled.  Geez, I loved those lights.

Tom’s family waited to buy their tree until the day before Christmas, because they were cheap.  They bought fat, bush-like trees where ornaments hung on the outside of the tree like refrigerator magnets.

These were real trees, not synthetic trees.  Real, dead trees.  But they smelled like live trees for a few days and then they dropped needles all over the carpet, because everybody had carpet in the old days, post World War II old days, I mean.

I held on to real, dead trees until the year 2004 when we bought an elegant but small condo.  That year I went synthetic.  Then we moved to New York City for a couple of years where I bought real, dead trees again, because seeing trees on the sidewalk in New York was magical. There was no way I was not going to buy one of those trees.

Now I’m back to that skinny synthetic tree (see above) and I load it with ornaments, meaningful kitsch I have gathered over the years from various places:  Boston, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Prince Edward Island, Maine, Vienna, Holland, Japan and  New York, where I bought some really gaudy stuff at Tavern on the Green when they went on sale.

I want to slap people who put up a Christmas tree before Thanksgiving.  I want to whack them good.

I used to think Thanksgiving weekend was too early, but now I see that it is becoming traditional to put the tree up that weekend, especially if the tree is fake anyway.

Last year, I removed the ornaments the third week in January, because the home teachers were coming, and I would have felt ashamed to have the tree still standing there in my living room.  I do a lot of housekeeping out of shame.  Anyway, I carried that tree with all of the lights still on it down the stairs and stuck it into a big closet.  One of these days I will carry it back up and decorate it again.  Maybe next year.  I’m going to NYC this year.

So when do you put it up?  And do you buy the fat tree or the skinny tree?  Synthetic or real (but dead)?  Do you decorate your house to the nines?  Do you wear Christmas sweaters?  Christmas pins?  Christmas aprons?  Do you have Christmas towels?  Do you buy a new wreathe every year?  On a scale of 1 to 10 how enthusiastically do you decorate your house and yourself for the holiday?  10 being extreme.  I’ll let you decide how extreme.  And 1 is bah humbug or you’re a Marxist.