(c) by David Dilworth
I love trees. My dear brother does too, but its probably related to how he loves opening presents – which sometimes magically appear under trees. (We’re both diagnosed as genetically happy.)
Of course most of us relish getting presents, but he seems to get extra passionate thrill from it.
He isn’t really bothered much if the present isn’t for him. Its the opening that excites him.
He is so enthusiastic, when he was young, and our neighbors got a head start putting up a Christmas Tree, occasionally he’d quietly wander into a neighbor’s home, settle down under their tree and start opening their presents.
Thank goodness we had such wonderful neighbors who found it charming, rather than alarming. But then many people fall under the spell of his smiling innocence and become his admiring cheerleaders and friends.
Our neighbors would just re-wrap their presents, have a fun story to tell – and more often than not they would bring over a special present just to enjoy my brother opening it.
So all was well.
When I moved out and put up my own Christmas / Holiday trees*, of course I’d always have my brother over to enjoy it – and to find a present or two specially for him.
My unusual fondness for Christmas trees and soon resulted in me leaving my tree up longer and longer, sometimes … well, slightly beyond the usual.
There were little clues this was not fully ordinary when by. . . say . . . Easter, some of my tradition-enslaved friends of the 1980s would drop little; then bigger and less subtle hints like “Since Valentine’s day is long gone . . . maybe its time to consider taking the tree down.”
I’d respond that Arbor day was coming up. Which was accurate, however, the truth was I just dreaded dismantling and losing such a beautiful and personally meaningful art display.
Solving that challenge, resulted in my actualization of Giftmas, and the Giftmas Tree. Somehow, in a flash of brilliance (light, not genius) I realized how to combine both wishes. I could have a lighted, decorated tree up all year round and make my brother very happy – every time he came to visit.
So here’s how it works.
Giftmas is a spontaneous time to honor and appreciate those you love – which totally includes Trees. Its symbol is an decorated or revered tree that presents show up under, sometimes nearly magically – at any time of year.
The tree is intended to physically celebrate the 12 days of Giftmas. You might be delighted to learn there is one Giftmas day every month – on any day you select – so that they do not conflict with other family celebrations, and maybe harmonize with forest celebrations.
Typically Giftmas days occur on the 9th (like World Wildlife Day), the 21rst (coinciding with Belgium and Kenya’s Arbor Days & the International Day of Forests) or in some cases the 3rd (New Zealand’s 1rst Arbor day).
This means that not only can your Giftmas tree remain beyond January, indeed it almost needs to be left up all year round.
Such a tree is put up with any decorations which you or the honoree might like (and which don’t harm the tree); sparkling lights are a bonus. Of course the tree can be placed inside or out, it can be alive (or pretending to be) and you can change decorations at any time.
Now, my dear brother has a Giftmas tree of his own that lights up every day. He seems quite pleased (he laughs a lot) to find spontaneous presents under it throughout the year.
And now You too can have a Giftmas Tree that lasts as long as you wish 🙂
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* Footnote: Many years ago I had a roommate who turned out to be hideous, and shall remain nameless (Jackass Jill will serve as a placeholder), yet she unwittingly inspired something good. One evening she came and sat on my bed and made it quite clear she wanted to “sleep” with me.
Now as a healthy, enthusiastic California fellow, that should have been a welcome idea. Slight problem was – JJ already had a boyfriend, so that didn’t work for me. As diplomatically as possible I tried to gently and gracefully decline her request.
Apparently I wasn’t sufficiently artful (or subservient) because upon returning from work the next day my furniture was out on the front lawn and the locks were changed.
Fast forward a couple of months. By the time I found a new place in Carmel and was preparing for Christmas, I discovered JJ had “forgotten” to hand over my lovely (but probably ordinary) ornaments.
Considering my limited budget, I quickly added a slight request to my holiday party invitation: “Please bring one ornament to help decorate my holiday tree.” They did, and another tradition began. My tree now only sports ornaments from friends and family. A music-box book from a book lover, a windsurfer from a sailing enthusiast, a knitted Angel – from an angel, you get the idea.
That was decades ago, and my Giftmas tree now truly beams with delight showing off its beautifully personalized ornaments – each one a meaningful, thoughtful personal gift.
Note: Giftmas is explicitly and intentionally non-religious even though some may imagine it appears to have some similarities to established religious ideas.
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