My annual January pet peeve is seeing houses with Christmas lights on and decorations up weeks past Christmas. Why do people do this? Is it laziness? Denial? Forgetfulness? Out of the country? No time? Too cold?
We Singletons gladly and quickly “undecorate” just after New Year’s Day to put the house back in order and enjoy those 10 minutes of it looking uncluttered. Unlike some who enjoy keeping their decorations up throughout the liturgical season of Christmas, we don’t even wait for the Feast of the Epiphany or the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the official end to the Church’s Christmas season.
So there I go zipping through January being all judgy and snarky about seeing Christmas lights still lit at night on Jan. 20 and it makes me batty, which is ridiculous since other people’s houses and decisions truly are none of my beeswax.
And what happens on Jan. 21? I fly to our Florida house to spend a few months and the first thing I see as I’m unlocking the front door is a Christmas tree and star decoration adorning the outside wall, and a metal angel holding a Christmas tree hanging above our door.
I walk into the foyer and a 4-foot tall white Santa Claus stares at me, perhaps judging me for not having put him away when I last left the house Dec. 13. On the foyer table is a small Christmas tree (thankfully unlit) with colored bulbs and a red star on top. Upstairs on the kitchen table is a Christmas centerpiece, and up one more flight of stairs I notice a small gingerbread tree.
Uh-oh. That annual pet peeve was just squelched bigtime. I quickly gather up everything, pack it in two big boxes still sitting in the upstairs hallway, and feel my elf ears flatten against my head.
What did my neighbors think of the lazy Mrs. Singleton for not taking down her Christmas decorations well into January? How many others were quick to judge me and my house as I had judged others? Isn’t that a Bible saying or something? Open judgy mouth – insert big foot. Wait, no, it goes, “For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:1-5)
Allow me to translate: “Why do you see the wreath that is on your neighbor’s door, but do not notice the 4-foot Santa Claus that is in your own foyer?”
Merry Christmas – still!?
How often do we do this? We are so quick to judge others, then we find ourselves in the same predicament. We don’t have all of the information of the one we are judging, same as the ones perhaps judging me in Florida who didn’t realize I was in Maryland during Christmas.
No matter. We shouldn’t be judging anyone at all. For anything. At any time. Anywhere. For whatever reason we feel compelled to mouth off unfairly. After all, we are all mere humans who forget to undecorate sometimes.
Hmmmmm. I already know what my 2021 new year’s resolution should be – I shalt not judge others for however long they decide to keep up their Christmas decorations.