As long as we’re talking about the definitive Catholic way to do every last tiny little thing, let’s talk about Christmas trees, shall we? I’m just about ready to throw ours out the window, but before I do, I thought I’d share how we achieve Peak Liturgical Significance with our tree.
We used to go into the wilds and cut down our own tree, but now we’ve discovered that there is a gas station down the road that sells trees for $25. Since parents are the first educators of children, it is encumbent on us to stand back smirking while our kids do the heavy lifting and stuff the tree into our van.
Remember to recall to them that Jesus hefted the harsh and prickly wood of the cross without complaint, and they need to be a lot more edified about this minor lifting job if they expect Santa to bring them anything halfway decent this year.
While the tree is still out on the porch, we perform a heavily symbolic ritual of Throwing Out This Year’s Armchair because we have a Really Small Living Room. This can be viewed as an inverted prefiguring of the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart, because the old chair signifies all the poor choices we’ve made over the past year, and getting rid of it demonstrates that we are now ready to make room in our hearts for the Christ Child, and also ready to have the room smell less like pee
The tree should fit well into the van, but not too well
signifying that we are in the world but not of the world. You can evangelize all the way home this way, and hope that crabby traffic cop is on his lunch break, because you are one ticket away from having your license suspended.
When you get home, find some clippers and remove the top of the tree, because your ceilings are even lower than you remembered. The youngest mobile child in the house can then use the removed tree top to anoint the other children in the house, chanting either “Asperges me, Domine, hyssopo, et mundabor” or “I’m Dark Vader, I’m your fadder!” whichever seems appropriate.
The other children in the house can engage in a sweet ritual echoing the choirs of angels who sang of the glories of God. If there is no snow on the ground to make snow angels in, you can just make angels in the stuffing that came out of the chair when you were dragging it outside.
All that remains now is to set up the tree and top it with something appropriate, like . . .
I don’t know, a Tom Servo doll made out of toilet paper tubes and macaroni. This signifies that everyone knows Joel was better than Mike. Nothing against Mike, but come on.
Then you can just sit back and wallow around in your domestic churchiness for a couple of weeks until you notice that there are more needles on the floor than there are on the tree. This is how you know that, no matter what the liturgical calendar says, Christmas is over. Throw the tree out the window and start looking for a new horrible old armchair that someone put on the curb for you.