The Giving Tree
January 16, 2011 § 1 Comment
For me, the month of January usually begins with a big celebration and concludes in a the frozen doldrums of winter. Why? There are only a series of pretty serious holidays to hurdle before the warmth (and joy-giving vitamin D) comes to the rescue.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a sobering and reflective holiday to consider the efforts of the civil rights movement and to participate in local community service to help fellow men, women and children.
Groundhog day arrives next, and being from Pennsylvania, Punxsutawny Phil, a adorably chubby critter, brings false hope for an early spring. If you’ve ever seen the movie with the holiday’s namesake, you’ll agree that the repetitive, perhaps slightly annoying quality of the movie, easily mimics the seemingly endless and repetitious time of year in which it takes place.
Then, to those who are single or those of us who just can’t bring themselves to appreciate this consumer-based holiday, Valentine’s Day can be full of eye-rolling, sighs and tears (of loneliness or mourning the soulessness of western consumerism).
If you celebrate Christmas, or at least celebrate your winter solstice with another western holiday staple in your household, getting rid of your Christmas tree usually precedes all of these sobering holidays. It’s always such a sad day when you realize it’s mid-January and your tree, balsam, spruce or frasier, is drier than firewood and littering your household with needles. They call them needles for a reason too–I had the misfortune of walking over one with stocking feet this morning which was a very painful reminder that the tree needed to be removed from my humble abode. It gets worse, removing the lights, popcorn, cranberries and treetopper, creates a sea of debris. Bare, the tree really looks dead and the guilt of killing it for your celebratory pleasure finally sets in. I am constantly reminded of Shel Silverstein’s classic The Giving Tree, another horribly depressing children’s book that explores the themes of selfishness and selflessness.
On days like this I’ve found it’s best to surround yourself with friends and family, put your coziest sweats on and sip a cup of warm comfort. It’s a happy reminder of solstice holidays to come.