When should Christmas trees be decorated?

sokamoto@ledger-enquirer.comDecember 9, 2013 

The most popular day to put up a Christmas tree is usually the day after Thanksgiving.

Columbus' Jan Page disagrees. She put hers up the first of November.

One reason she does it early is because it reminds her of her father, who died 11 years ago. Page said he enjoyed seeing decorated trees.

But another reason is alternating holidays with the family.

Her sister lives in Virginia and every other year visits Columbus with her family. The year she's not here, she goes to her husband's family home in Virginia.

"So this year, our Christmas was at Thanksgiving, and I had my house decorated," Page said.

The Pages only decorate the inside in early November. They decorate the exterior after Thanksgiving. But Jan Page said if it was up to her husband, Lee, their outside space would be decorated earlier, and it would be so bright "you'd be able to see it from space.

"Everyone's circumstances are different," Page said. "It's personal. I love Christmas."

Here are a couple of family traditions from around the Chattahoochee Valley:

A family tradition

Artist Trey Williams and his wife live in Seale, Ala. Put them in the post-Thanksgiving basket.

"I think before Thanksgiving is too early," he said, saddened that the Christmas season has turned into "all about shopping."

Williams doesn't mind that people shop on Black Friday, but thought the stores opening on Thanksgiving Day were going too far.

"On Thanksgiving, you should be thankful for all you've got," he said. "Not what you want to buy next."

When their two sons were small, Williams said they'd go out on their property to cut down a juniper tree. They'd each pick a tree they liked, and then as a family, they'd choose one to cut down and take to the house.

But first, they'd link hands, make a ring around the tree and sing "Oh, Christmas Tree."

He laughs when he relates that none of them really knew the words to the old carol, but sang it anyway.

This year, with both boys grown -- one lives in Montana and the other in Savannah -- it will be just Williams and his wife, Jodi.

They will not cut down a tree this year.

"I might make a wreath," he said.

The week of Halloween

To say that Cissie Gannon Kee loves Christmas is putting it mildly.

She started decorating the interior of her house the week of Halloween. She started working on her backyard around the same time, but didn't start decorating the front yard until the day after Thanksgiving.

She starts working on her house so early because she does all the work herself.

Kee has six Christmas trees, two nativity scenes and plenty of wreaths, paintings and figurines in her house.

Each of her guest rooms has a tree, so does her bedroom. The sunroom, kitchen and living room also have trees.

Kee's only room that is not decorated is her sewing room, which she converts into a storage space during the holidays.

Her husband, Tom, who was the ROTC instructor at Harris County High School, died in 2010. Her beloved standard poodle had died a few months earlier. And Tom's lab died a week after his master.

That year, friends asked if she would still decorate her house.

Of course, she said.

Right now, she lives alone with her three dogs, Gannie, a 12-year-old apricot poodle; TJ, a 4-year-old terrier-Schnauzer-Huskey mix, and Jet, a year-old spaniel mix.

She also decorates the bathrooms.

"Every tree has something under the tree, but I don't put presents under the trees," she said. "The presents are wrapped, in big plastic bags and in the closets."

Kee shops for Christmas-related knick-knacks all year, but makes sure to hit the after-Christmas sales.

Besides, she holds an open house for friends in mid-December every year and has to have her house ready for guests.

Some decorations are up all year, she said.

"It took me three hours to put up that swag," Kee said. "It's not coming down. It's up there."

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