I put up a Christmas tree by myself yesterday.
In years past, I’ve put up small trees–in my dorm room, apartment, or parents’ basement, and I’ve always loved helping my mom decorate their house for Christmas.
But this felt different. I put the stand together, carefully screwed the base of the tree in place so it wouldn’t move, fitted each section together, strung the lights (twice, actually, cause the first time didn’t look very good), then hung my set of Target clearance section plastic ornaments. I was pleased with how it turned out.In ways it was nice to decorate by myself. I went at my own pace, picked whatever Christmas music I wanted to listen to, and got to decide which ornaments went where, occasionally rearranging them multiple times (I just moved a couple more after writing that sentence).
It felt a little weird though. There’s something about Christmas trees, and the season in general, that speak of home and family and warmth and coziness. I really like my current living situation, but I can’t let myself forget that it’s temporary. This is the only Christmas season that tree will spend in this living room, and it’s the only one I’ll spend living here as well.
As comfortable as I sometimes feel in this stage of life, yesterday was a reminder that things can still be a little weird here. This whole holiday season, starting next week with Thanksgiving and stretching through New Year’s, is going to be a new kind of experience for me.
I’ve always had weird work hours through the holidays, and now I’ll be working almost completely regular ones (though I’m taking a few days off).
I’ve always gone home to my parents’ house or already been living there for most of the month of December, and now I’ll only be there for a few days around Thanksgiving and a few more around Christmas (and even then, it’s mostly because my roommate would likely be gone and I can’t bear the thought of waking up in an empty house on a holiday).
I’ve always looked at the new year as the start of a new semester, and now, it will be just a new date on my emails at work.
Considering how notoriously bad at change I am, I’m not dreading these changes as much as I thought I might. It is different though, and I’m grappling with the realization that this is what adulthood looks like. Or at least my own version of it, for right now. Decorating a tree by myself, working nearly regular hours, only spending a few days here and there at my parents house. A grown-up Christmas, I suppose.
Til next time…
p.s. How did you deal with the changes adulthood brings about, especially when it comes to holidays?