What to Do When Your Christmas Tree Wants a Bass Boat

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My Valentines Day Tree. It’s a tradition…in Finland…ok the insane asylum.

Yesterday, I did an author interview (here is the link if you care to show this sweet new writer some blog love) and one of the questions was:

Kristen, I have four children and a full time job to juggle alongside my writing, so I can understand how busy life gets, but you, you are a business woman, a wife, a mother, a role model to all of us. How do you find time to juggle all of this and still stay sane? 

My first response is, “Who ever said I was sane?” Yes, I work hard, but this idea that we are going to work a day job, write books, blog, build a platform, be the perfect mother, spouse and have a Martha Stewart home is absurd. Yes, I confess. It is now Valentines Day and my Christmas Valentines Tree still proudly stands in my dining room.

Exactly how long can one leave up a Christmas tree before you are officially white trash?

I know that, technically, an artificial Christmas tree isn’t a living thing, thus shouldn’t evolve, but yesterday I heard Willie Nelson coming from the dining room, and, when I looked closely at the tree? I saw it had sprouted THESE:

Stop standing there like a GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE and get me a BEER!

Stop standing there like a GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE and get me a BEER!

To keep my tree from shooting in the air and playing banjo, I had to come up with a plan.

Take down the tree.

*clutches sides laughing*

Are you kidding? I have writing to do!

So I distracted the tree with Bud Light and some glittery nail polish from Wal Mart and took it to Pic Monkey for a Makeover:

Evolution of the Christmas Tree...

Evolution of the Christmas Tree…

And now my Valentines Tree allows me to happily live in denial. It also no longer swats me in the @$$ and asks me to cosign for a bass boat.

I think the Easter Tree will be AWESOME.

And the whole “I am a role model to all of you” part? I think it gets clearer by the day why I wasn’t allowed to play with the other neighborhood kids.

So what about you? What is the longest you have ever left up your Christmas tree? Did it like to sing Stand By Your Man and watch fishing shows? I figure if I drag this out long enough I won’t look like a slacker. By the end of October I will be a role model! 😀

Confess! Tell us about the Christmas lights still on your house or the plastic reindeer still munching your grass. Oh, and Happy Valentines Day! You know I love each and every one of you and THANK YOU for blessing me by coming to my blog.

I LOVE hearing from you…

To prove it and show my love, for the month of February, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.

At the end of February I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.


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  1. LoL Happy Valentine’s Day, Kristen :0)

  2. I actually have a Christmas Wreaths till hanging on the back of my front door, and two skeletons hanging from Halloween a few meters further down the hall. I figure if I throw in a few Easter bunnies I will just make entering my home an season holiday experience.

  3. We only took the Christmas lights down last week and then only because the kids (2 and 4) nagged us every time we came home in the dark and saw them twinkling beautifully at us. I’d leave them up at least until the end of March (when it doens’t matter there are no streetlights in our village) but child-pressure…. Can’t embarass the kids (or at least need to save it for something really worthwhile)

  4. Sheer boredom of being snowed in without power during Nor’Easter Nemo last weekend plus the necessity of clearing a path to the woodstove so we all didn’t freeze to death finally inspired us to take down OUR Valentine’s tree. 🙂 Glad to know I’m not the only white trash in the neighborhood!

  5. The wreath is still on the door, but it’s really a ring with a snowman saying welcome, so I figure it’s there until spring. I brought lights that look like branches and they’re stuck in my front flowerbed. I turn them on randomly to cheer up the place on gloomy snowy days. (They’ve been on for the past week-day and night.) My son’s Lego Christmas village is still on top of the entertainment unit (does anyone still have one of those?). I figure that the cotton snow blanket underneath the Lego houses and shops is doing a fine job of keeping the dust away. And there are still 2 snowmen on the mantle, though the Santas and the moose are gone. I’m having company on the weekend, so the mantle may be cleared, but since its a birthday party, I think I’ll keep the lights on. 🙂

  6. LOL 🙂 Loving the Valentine’s tree.
    I’m infamous for leaving my Christmas decor out way, way, way past Epiphany. The longest display? One year, many moons ago, I hosted an in-home Christmas decorations party – like Tupperware, except it was Christmas decorations. I had the brilliant idea to actually put up my Christmas tree for the mid-September party – you know, to surprise and delight my guests. Thing is, after putting it up “for the party,” it stayed up… Until February.
    So, a solid 5 months and going on 6 months was the longest. To date. 😉

  7. I left my stuff up for over a record week after Christmas this year. But I’m easily distracted, and I can’t focus on writing when I know there are tasks screaming my name. Usually I’m over it all and I clear the house the day after Christmas. I’ve noticed several houses in my neighborhood with their lights still up…

    • Renee on February 14, 2013 at 7:47 am
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    LOL! Always a treat and a surprise, your topics. Okay, Kristen, true confessions here, we once had ours up ‘til March. Mine was a St. Paddy’s tree, and I’m Irish, so what the hey. My husband kept waiting on me to take down the ornaments. I’m officially a Best Procrastinator nominee for the White Trash Oscars.

    When I worked for corporations, I could afford a cleaning service. Now when I take out the ole trusty Swiffer, it trembles eyeing the five-inch accumulation of dust in the house. I exaggerate, but only a little.

    What seems to get my butt in gear, is that I watch about fifteen minutes of“Hoarders.” The moment a dead cat is dragged from behind the 1972 Zenith, I say, “That’s it! Time to get my butt in gear.”

    My husband groans at the zeal in my eyes. “Kids, go hide your things. Mom’s been watching that awful show again.”

  8. Lol…doing pretty good this year…the only Christmas remnant still up is the lighted garland around the big mirror as you enter my house. I can never manage to do as faithfully as my neighbor. Her tree is always up the day after Thanksgiving and always down before January 1st. Oh well, life just gets in the way. The only reason mine was really out as early in January this year as it was, is because my husband fell and we needed it more out of the way so he could have a clearer path walking with the walker.

  9. I can be a little Grinchy right after Christmas, and so my tree rarely stays up past New Year’s. Its like the end of a big party, and I just want everyone to go home and leave me to my peace!

    • Debbie Fisk on February 14, 2013 at 8:44 am
    • Reply

    Hi Kristen: Happy Valentine’s Day! We have left our Christmas tree up well into February several year in a row and yes it was a live tree. But in all fairness it was still living and smelling wonderful. Slowly I removed ornaments and lights over the weeks after Christmas, but I didn’t have the heart to throw it out when it still had life. I often wonder what the neighbors think of my glittering lights in the front window. Lol.

  10. My Christmas tree is nowhere to be found…because I didn’t even bother this year. I was afraid the dog would mark it, so I planned to put one outside, but when I couldn’t find our tree stand, I took this as a sign. Instead we put up white rope lights in our backyard that will be perfect for that summer bar-b-que.

    • Lanette Kauten on February 14, 2013 at 8:55 am
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    Christmas tree? You actually had time to put one up this year? All I can say is after Christmas was over, I was very glad I didn’t have to take one down, but the longer I left up my display of Christmas cards on the mantel, the more irritated my husband became. I think I threw those away in the second week of January.

  11. I stopped putting up Christmas trees years ago but there were not children here to entertain. If we had a party we could toss some decorations around. Hmmm I see the small green velvet stocking is still hung with care on a rabbit decoration. Ummm, three years ago? Cards rarely make it into the house.

  12. Sorry but I can’t help you here. I’m one of those people who starts itching to take down the tree by Christmas afternoon. It’s all I can manage to hold off until New Year’s has passed.

    However, you’ve inspired me for another holiday. It’s settled. For Lent, I’m giving up sanity. (It was overrated anyway.)

    1. Love it, Julie. Much better than giving up coffee or chocolate.

  13. I like the makeover! Very smart idea

  14. That is so funny, this is the first year I didn’t have it all down on January 1. Just last week I got it all boxed up and put away. I got it down by Feb. 1, but had it stacked on the end of the kitchen table till last week. Now the box is sitting in the mud room taunting me. (It’s supposed to be in the garage) Too funny, but you’re right, putting it off to write — or surf, so much more fun!

    And sanity — it is so overrated!

    • SweetSong on February 14, 2013 at 10:45 am
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    I LOVE the tree! I actually do have all my decorations down, but we had a live tree, so you can’t really get away with leaving it up the same way…
    I did have Christmas cards still up on the mantle until last week though.

  15. I admit, once upon a time I left the Christmas lights up around the eve of the house for three years. Then again, that was in Wasilla, AK, where the neighbors are happy if you keep the number of burnt-out autos/appliances in the yard below six. And with the darkness of the winters, it was a nice light source, while with the brightness of the summers, everybody was away fishing anyway.

    1. You’re supposed to take the outdoor lights down? Since when??? When we lived in Southern California, the season was defined by whether or not the lights were plugged in.

  16. Okay, I confess. I once had a house with 12 foot ceilings so we got a 10.5 foot Christmas tree. Great idea! Looks fantastic. You should have seen us getting the darn thing home!!! Well, it was so immense and, of course, lovely that we left it up until sometime after the end of February. Oh, yeah, we had to tie a ribbon to the top of the tree and then to a hook in the ceiling so it wouldn’t lean because it was so tall. I think it took a small army to remove it and the needles were everywhere! We just kept adding decorations so it wouldn’t look like we were just too lazy to take it down… 😀

  17. Peeking in my windows, are you? I did take the ornaments off, and haven’t plugged in the lights for awhile; does that count? We have plans for tomorrow. Time will tell.
    Too late to escape the role model thing for you, but thanks for being real.

  18. So glad I’m not the only one with one of my five Christmas trees still up and the other four peeking from their blue plastic tubs waiting for me to get the time to put them in the garage. And yes, I had exactly the same conversation with myself last night…do I take time from writing to put it all away? Nope, sorry. The tree(s) will have to wait until Saturday. I’ve got a book with a deadline to meet.

  19. I’m Jewish, but my parents were very, very assimilated (eager European immigrants), so we had Xmas trees (plural when my brother and I fell for different ones). I like the custom, so now, my family has a Solstice tree. It’s perfectly reasonable to keep a Solstice tree around until at least the Spring Equinox — right? . . .

  20. Yeah, there are still lights up on the roof. We might get them down by Easter, but at this point, we might just leave them there. 😉

    • Linda Rice on February 14, 2013 at 11:43 am
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    I have some small lighted Christmas decorations–a reindeer and sleigh between two Christmas trees– in front of my garage. They are still lit to replace the porch light that burned out just before Christmas. The porch light is too high for me to reach, so I’m waiting for my grandson’s next visit to replace it. He comes to see me every year or so.

    • Melissa Lewicki on February 14, 2013 at 11:49 am
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    We have an elderly friend who does not like to impose on her friends and family too much. After her husband died, she didn’t want to have to ask folks to help her put the tree up and take it down. So, she just leaves in up 12 months a year. She just changes the decorations to match the season/holiday. My favorite is her 4th of July tree.

  21. Well, I did take down my tree, but I do have garland still on the mantle and I have lights and garland outside the front door. I told my husband that I left it up so that I could see whenever I was out at night and needed to see along the walkway. Naa, he didn’t believe me. Maybe it is because I almost never go out at night. I made myself a tee shirt that says it all “I’d rather be Writing!”

  22. LOL, if my husband had HIS way that tree would be down by Boxing day. I feel honored he lets me keep it up to Dec 31 🙂

    • mitzireinbold on February 14, 2013 at 12:13 pm
    • Reply

    I love the idea of keeping the tree up 12 months out of the year and I may do that one day. I have to admit that I “used” my daughter (visiting from Seattle) and my nephew as my Christmas decoration elves. I’ve found that putting up the tree is more time-consuming than taking it down…

    I have to add that I’m not Mrs. Clean and now I have a 10-room house (after getting married in June) with a couple of cats and a newish dog. My husband is a “collector” – not hoarder but he has a lot of interests and books, just like me. However, I’d been a nurse for 40+ years and I had it drilled in me that I could never do anything for myself (like going to the bathroom) until my patients were cared for. I’m trying to move away from that habit.


  23. I’ve seen homes with the Christmas lights still up in June. I think you are officially a redneck if you continue to find ways to keep from taking that Christmas tree down. If you wait a little longer, you can change it to a spring tree -:)

  24. You’re not late or white trash, you’re just using creativity in a different way. And no, that’s not just “spin” on the issue. I remember reading a while back (probably a couple of decades back) in an interview with Loretta Lynn about how she hated to see the Christmas tree go down each year, so made her staff keep the office tree up all year and change the decorations to match the changing months. You’re just using yours to go from holiday to holiday. And I gotta think that Willie Nelson reference means a little country channeling on your trees part, too, so with the Loretta history already out there in the reference-sphere this may all be something bigger than you. I say roll with it, as it’s cheaper than a bass boat, and better than your tree deciding to take on zombie characteristics and start following you everywhere. 🙂

  25. I’m Jewish so I don’t have a Christmas tree but we put up a sukkah every year – a wooden building outside with branches for a roof. It goes out sometime in late September for the holiday of Sukkot and is supposed to come down eight days later. (Hey maybe that’s why so many Jewish holidays have eight days: if you forget to put away the Menorah or the Passover plates, well, the holiday’s still going on!)

    Anyway, our sukkah went up mid-Sept a couple of years ago and sat on the lawn, killing the grass beneath it through December unti it got snowed on/in. My husband and I finally tore the poor thing down just before New Year’s.

  26. LOL, I love the idea of an all-seasons tree! Just think of the possibilities … Easter Tree, Maypole Tree, Summer beach tree, Labor Day tree, Turkey Tree …. oh, the decorating ideas would be positively endless! 🙂

  27. Happy V-Day, Kristen! The longest I’ve left up a tree is March. 😀 I put a hat on it and named it Harry. Then when I was finished with him, I chucked him out the living room window… three stories up. 😀 😀 😀

  28. I have a New Year’s Day tradition of taking down my Christmas tree on that day yearly. My sister still has her fake Christmas tree up. Go figure.
    Happy Valentine’s Day.

  29. Great idea, Kristen. In March you can do a St. Patrick’s Day tree, and an Easter tree … then you can do a different theme for each month – – – nah, that sounds like too much work. Enjoyed the blog.

    1. Pic Monkey makes it easy, LOL.

  30. Yes, my Christmas tree is still up and the only thing on it is the angel at the top because I was too lazy to get the ladder out, climb it, take the angel off, and put it away. My excuse – we have a new artificial tree and do not have a box to put it on. Home Depot is sold out of the bags to store one’s Christmas tree (which they probably will restock in November), so our tree may be there until next Christmas. I look at it this way, I’m just early for this Christmas!!!

  31. No to the bass boat. But I solved this dilemma years ago when my kids were big enough. Most years I don’t even do a Christmas tree (too much temptation for my dogs), so no worries about taking it down in a timely manner. Ho Ho Ho.

  32. Our tree comes down before New Year’s eve, but not to worry…my mom used to enjoy leaving hers up year-round! It wasn’t because she was too busy, as you are. It was because she thought it was decorated so beautifully! Oh my. You made me laugh out loud…so thank you!

  33. I think; your Valentine’s Day Tree is Freudian. I see lips in the middle of the picture. We believe in the Three Kings found Jesus of Nazareth and the three kings gave their baby king gifts. It is celebrated on January 6 of every New Year with a Mass usually. Of course, not all believed Jesus was their king because things became more expensive instead of free. Aristotle the philosopher tricked Jesus to give up his wealth (started by the three kings) and those disciples had to evangelize to eat. There went the free wine and free bread and free fishes on daily bases. Taxation spending does not work for me, either. Technically, Christmas decorations including the tree should not be removed until after the 6th of January, but when we were little my mother started buying fake trees because waiting after the sixth a real Christmas tree would dry up and it becomes a fire hazard with the electricity current on the lights, on all night, while we were sleeping. I am not a fisherman and I am not a golfer so no bass boat or golf clubs underneath a tree for me.

  34. I told my hubby he could leave the lights up until the end of January, but then after that, they must come down.

    January came and went, the lights stayed up, and I had something to prove. I overcame my fear heights and drug out the ladder to take the damn things down myself.

    This November, instead of asking him to put the lights up, I’ll beg him to leave them in the garage where they belong. Who cares if the neighbors don’t think we’re festive enough.

  35. We don’t have a Christmas tree because the cats would be climbing it, knocking the ornaments off, eating the tinsel and either yacking it up or pooping it out, and would likely knock the thing down. We don’t have any kids, so it’s not a problem. One advantage is that we don’t have to store, unpack, and repack the ornaments and lights. Another is that we don’t have fights about when to take the tree down. Because we totally would, and it’d probably be Thanksgiving before we took everything down.

  36. You cracked me up! My tree stayed up way too long too. Even wayer too long given we are Muslims and atheists!!!

    As I type this I am looking at tree devorations floating on the patio, escaped from their casing!

  37. When I was a child, one year I decided to leave the Christmas garlands up in my room all year round as it always looked so sad and bare when they came down. One went right above my bed. After a few weeks or months I don’t recall now, I was reading in bed and suddenly had the urge to sit up and move to the other end of the bed for no particular reason. As soon as I had done so a huge spider landed on my pillow right where my head had been! The garlands came down straight away and I never put up garlands again, especially over my bed. But I have been known to leave the tree and the fairy lights and tinsel up all winter for a bit of sparkly cheer 🙂

  38. When my mom was in the nursing home, I put an artificial tree about two feet tall in her room on top of the dresser. I decorated it with new stuff for every holiday, even Fiesta since we live in San Antonio. It was fun for both of us. As always, I am putting your link on three FB pages.

    • AnneS on February 15, 2013 at 12:58 pm
    • Reply

    I have to show your post to my family to prove I’m not the only one! My sister takes her tree down on the 26th; mine stays up at least until the 6th (because it’s the 12th Night I say, though really, I just like having the place lit up for my birthday). This year I managed to get the ornaments off before the Superbowl, but my red rose Christmas wreath morphs into a VD wreath every year. The outdoor greenery usually stays up until it’s brown and fairly embarrassing.

  39. Our neighbors leave theirs up through April, then they put it on their back patio for a couple more months. I once knew a woman who decorated one for every holiday. Me? I leave the twinkle lights on the fireplace mantel year round. I like lights. But when it comes to writing over cleaning the house, writing wins…and I don’t let anyone come to my house:)

  40. *snap fingers* I knew I forgot something. LOL My Christmas trees still up and I have no intention of taking it down for awhile. I like the idea of decorating for each holiday, but the lack of time means it probably won’t be done. The lights are still outside and I gave up removing them 10 years ago. Too time consuming to put them up and take them down again. 😀

    1. Pic Monkey. Easy. Denial is just a few clicks away :D.

      1. LOL Isn’t it? 😀

  41. I’m in Oz, northern Oz to be more precise and if you leave Christmas stuff up here it fades in the hot summer sun. I have Christmas lanterns that can attest to that. But they’re pastel shades now and kind of pretty, so who cares? Also they’re up for Chinese New Year so that’s good. I meant to celebrate Valentine’s but it went past in a blur but I did have my pastel lanterns up. I have taken down most of the Halloween spiderwebs though. I think. anyway, who has time to check?

    • Joanna Aislinn on February 16, 2013 at 7:57 am
    • Reply

    Okay, so I just caught this in my inbox. Behind or not I want to comment!

    Left a (real) tree in my apartment up until sometime in February–the thing was a fire hazard so toward the end of its career the lights had to stay in ‘off’ mode. Good thing hubby takes ours down every year. My job has evolved into getting the ornaments he leaves in a tangled heap on the DR table put away. BTW, I recently noticed we still have a card hanger and homemade kiddie ornaments sitting on the front door. I keep looking at them and saying ‘later.’

    Love your tree, Kristen. Works for me. 😀

    • lynettemburrows on February 16, 2013 at 9:14 am
    • Reply

    LOL. I’ve kept my Christmas tree (artificial) up (and all the other decorations) every year from Thanksgiving to at least Valentine’s Day for the past 19 + years with an occasional venture into the beginning of March. So I average 3-4 months. Of course, once I start taking down the tree and all the decorations, that process can take another month. LOL. Hubby keeps saying we need to just put a sheet over it, then come Christmas time, whip off the sheet and there she is! (Wish I had enough room for that!)

  42. You win the “Most Original Title Ever!” award, Kristen!

  43. Truth Earnest Frank sooo delicious. Love/Truth Sometimes Truth can Hurt but the one who tells the Truth is one who loves. Hate does not exist Hate is a reaction or defense r/t fear of change, the unknown ,the queer;strange and unusual. The true coin of life, is Love on one side and Truth on the other side. Toss Up. Love All ways Hushpuppie

  44. Aloha Kristen, I linked this blog to my blog “Six February Holidays in the Same Week.” I posed the question of whether Valentine’s Day might be the time to take down the Christmas tree. http://www.sandrawagnerwright.com/six-february-holidays-in-the-same-week/

  45. I once took all the decorations off but left the tree up. I had a fire place and it was easier to cut the limbs off and feed them to the fire than figure out how to dispose of the whole tree. It ended up as a pole in it’s stand, still proudly centered in the living room window.

    1. LOL. Sometimes I think a live tree would have been taken down more quickly. It’s easier to ignore the artificial tree in the dining room.

  1. […] I love Kristen Lamb’s solution of just leaving it up and decorating it for other holidays, I’m not sure I can do it justice. I’m not interested in decorating for the popular […]

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