Proposing a statute of limitations on Christmas trees

4 min readNov 22, 2023
An elaborately decorated Christmas tree with red, white and gold decorations, set in a room featuring many colours of beige, in front of a large window with a snowy landscape in the background
Photo by Cameron Stewart on Unsplash

I am writing this on the 22nd of November. For those of you in the Excited States of America, that’s Thanksgiving week. For Canadians like me, that’s six weeks AFTER Thanksgiving. But I digress.

I was looking out my condominium window one night earlier this week and was startled to see the twinkly shape of Christmas trees in the majority of windows in the building next door.

Yep, more than a month before December 25, and the glitter has begun.

I’m used to this premature holiday-making in the commercial world. Costco replaces Halloween decorations and candy with Christmas ephemera round about October 15. Malls are (re)decorated soon after, and the Christmas ads on television start about the same time.

Apparently everyone is expected to be giving their loved ones cars, electronics and diamonds, by the way. In this economy? Not sure what planet these advertisers live on….

But I digress again.

It seems to me that the “kickoff” of the Christmas decorating season seems to have shifted to one of two trigger dates: either the weekend we change the clocks to Daylight Saving Time (subject of another rant on another day), or Halloween.

I grew up in a time when “real” Christmas trees were the norm. In fact, I grew up in the country, so in our household, “getting a Christmas tree” meant a walk in the forest service lands bordering our farm, to try and find a suitable young fir that had symmetry on at least three sides.

A mossy tree stump in a coniferous forest, flanked by ferns, fir trees and reflecting dim winter sunshine
The west coast rain forest (photo by author)

That walk usually happened the weekend before Christmas. No matter how much we kids lobbied for earlier, our parents stood steadfast: reduce the fire hazard, keep the tree “fresh” outside until the weekend before. And “de-decorate” on New Year’s Eve for the same reason. If the weather cooperated, a bonfire on Twelfth Night (we were flexible, the weekend closest to January 5) topped off the poor sapling’s role as a pagan symbol co-opted for a Christian celebration.

I blame the premature erection of Christmas trees on the shift to safer, more fire resistant…




Recreational writer, collector of antique corkscrews, urban gardener and retired management consultant to social profit organizations. Proudly Canadian.