For twenty-seven years my neighbor’s discarded Christmas tree has shown up on the curb on January 2. The same neighbor on the same day also takes down his outdoor Christmas lights. I do not consider this guy to be overly organized, but he definitely has a specific date on his calendar to mark the end of the holiday season. 

I, in contrast, have no idea when my tree will come down. No, that’s not true. It will come down sometime this month. Some years I put it out on the curb in time for the City to pick it up; other years I miss the deadline. I’ve never bothered to find out what the actual last day is. When I do take the tree down, I put it on the curb regardless of the date. If it is still there after two weeks, I assume I’ve missed Christmas tree pick up for the year and take it to the yard waste disposal site myself. As far as removing my single strand of outdoor Christmas lights, I’ll unplug them in about a week and then wait for an unusually warm day to unravel them from my porch railing. They aren’t doing anyone any harm. 

This has been a unique holiday season. With Clare home, it has been good, but not exceptional. Manyu was away in Taiwan the whole time. Even though her Taiwanese upbringing did not include a Christmas celebration, she knows it represents family to me as much as Chinese New Year does to her. She and I normally deal with her annual trips to Asia very well, but Christmas apart this pandemic year was hard for both of us. I bought a bottle of sparkling wine for New Year’s Eve, but neither Clare nor I bothered to open it as midnight approached. We celebrated by watching the annual fireworks display that takes place not far from our house, but after the grand finale, we both went to bed. 

Still it is not all bad. Yesterday I noticed it was still light outside at 5pm.  

*This is the first blog entry for 2021. Every January I have teach myself all over again how to make a new archive page for the year’s entries. If I was smart, I would just go ahead and make pages for 2022, 2023, and 2024, then schedule them to appear one, two, and three years from now. I already know I won’t.

Steven Simpson