The road ends, but the journey continues...

We all need more Christmas

(this year especially)

The fresh-cut tree stand down the road from us always sets up shop around November 11th and sells out of ‘fresh’ stock (highly contestable IMHO) around Thanksgiving. This has always confused me as the thought of needle drop before Christmas proper and indoor dry tree syndrome does make for a huge holiday fire hazard, if not messy house.

After living in the deep south for almost a decade, I’ve learned it’s common to start with the tree-in-the-house aspect of Christmas decorating to begin not the day after Thanksgiving – which has always seemed strange to me, too – but instead often several days before Thanksgiving. I’ve gotten used to this and kept my thoughts about this seemingly local quirkiness to myself – to each his own, right?

This year, that same stand began displaying its wares around the 17th of November. A tad later than usual. And, those trees did indeed sell out several days before Thanksgiving – after two full tree-lot re-stocking of product!

Meanwhile, I found myself spontaneously delighted to see the emergence of such local ‘normalcy’.

Perhaps it’s just me grasping at snippets of Joy. But why not lean into Joy – however seemingly small or passing?

If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it . . .

. . . Joy is not made to be a crumb.

from: don’t hesitate, by Mary oliver

Hubby and I agreed that maybe this year we’d get going with Christmas decos earlier than usual for us.

Almost two weeks ago, as I tidied the house up for our Thanksgiving ZOOM family feast, I also cleared away the place where our new 4ft, pre-lit, artificial tree would be set up for this year’s Christmas.


It felt good.

It made me happy and expectant.


We all need more Christmas.

This year, especially.

Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Nehemiah 8:10 niv

Snowman table topper pictured in the featured image made by quilt-buddy Roseanne. (Flash wanted his picture taken, too!)


  1. deborahbrasket

    We usually put up our big tree two weeks before Christmas and take down on New Year’s Day watching the annual parade on TV. This year, with just the two of us, we settled for a tiny table tree, and few other decorations. Surprisingly, I don’t feel deprived at all. We too are looking forward to our Christmas Day zoom visit with our loved ones. A very joyful and peaceful Christmas to you and yours, Laura.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Sounds like just the thing this year. And part of the fun is knowing 2021 is just around the corner, too!
      Buon’ Natale, sorella di fiore.

  2. Lesleykluchin

    Oh yes! The more early holiday celebrations the better. The day after Thanksgiving I replaced my fall decorations by pulling out my Chanukah pillows, throws, menorahs (I collect them), blue and white plates and table coverings, dreidels, and collection of Chanukah bears. I decorated the house early. And tonight I lit the last candle and celebrated the miracle of Chanukah and the miracle that I’m still alive. Last year I was too sick to decorate and too weak to stand and light candles. I didn’t think I’d be around to light them in 2020. But, Wonder of wonders, Miracle of miracles I’m still here. And I’m so very thankful. So whatever we celebrate… let the celebrations begin!
    We all need a little joy! Here’s to a better 2021. Stay safe everyone. Happy Everything. ❤️???✡️❤️

    • laura bruno lilly

      Lesley, your comment oozes joy and gratitude! Thank you so much for sharing your ‘story’ in a nutshell – yet vividly – so all who read it can celebrate with you and also begin our own personal Dance of Joy at being alive.
      Happy Everything. I like that!

  3. notjustagranny

    We definitely do need more Christmas this year…

    • laura bruno lilly

      Looks like you’re doing your part (as recorded in your latest post!).
      And, thanks for stopping by.

  4. Annika Perry

    Laura, how true, Christmas is needed more than ever this year and I’m loving the lights around the area … for England it is rare to see so many houses decorated with various Xmas lights, some I’m sure are visible from outer space! ? We have the star and window lights up but no tree yet … enjoy yours and yes, lean into all the joy you can! Wise words indeed from Mary Oliver! Wishing you light and peace as the festive season begins. Hugs xx

    • laura bruno lilly

      All the best to you and yours, too! 2021 here we come!

  5. Jennie

    Every house seems to have been decorated over Thanksgiving. Live trees are sold out. People need a little more Christmas. Wonderful!

    • laura bruno lilly

      “Joy to the World”…the carol and the 3-dog night song just seem appropriate about now!!!!

      • Jennie


  6. Joseph Finnerty

    Our aluminum tree is set up. My wife bought it at Walmart’s for $30 some 60 years ago on Christmas Eve while shopping for diapers. It came with a color wheel. When both it and the tree rotate, the effect is quite lovely to see.

    • laura bruno lilly

      I remember those! The ultimate in sustainable Christmas trees as they last forever! HA!
      I can’t wait to watch your ‘holidays in Hobokan’ storytelling segment next week! I’ll be sending info to my little listers and others.
      Watch out world, here comes the Bard of Scottsdale!

  7. zippyquilts

    Yep, Christmas came along just in time 🙂

  8. Lavinia Ross

    Wishing you and your family a joyful Christmas season, Laura! <3

    • laura bruno lilly

      Warm wishes for you and yours also, Lavinia.

  9. Jane's Heartsong

    I love the Mary Oliver quote. And Nehemiah. Your table piece with the snowman to match, is so cute. I put my tree with the lights up a few days before December, just a good lift for the spirit. After all, it was a weekend! Did someone mention coffee? He he. I have eggnog for my dark-roast now. 🙂

    • laura bruno lilly

      Like you say – ‘a good lift for the spirit’. I wish for you a big box of Twizzlers placed under the tree by the Big Guy!
      As for the coffee? I’m partial to an occasional addition of Mexican hot chocolate with a tiny spritz of whip in my Java!
      Cheers to the Dark-Roast!

      • Jane's Heartsong

        Cheers right back to you. That coffee sounds delicious. No loss of taste and smell here and hope it stays that way.

        • laura bruno lilly

          Well put, Jane…may it be so!

  10. Janis @

    We don’t really have a good place for a Christmas tree in our living room so we haven’t had one in years. I have put up my favorite decorations around the living room and even bought a few more (oopsie). I also got rid of a lot of ornaments and decorations that I no longer need (passed on to others who wanted them). I like how everything looks: contemporary and festive… plus not as many things to put away when it’s over. I almost skipped decorations this year, but I’m glad I didn’t.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Oh Janis, I’m glad you didn’t pass on the decos this year, too. It’s the little things that help make things festive – even in the acquiring of ‘a few more’ decorations.
      Spread the Joy, not the Germs. Hmmm, just came up with that…don’t think it’ll fly outside this little website’s realm!!!!

  11. anne54

    My decorating is very low key. Last year I made a tree from books, which I will do again this year. For many years I brought the potted cumquat tree inside and decorated it ~ until it became too big to move! The cumquats added their own bauble charm. I can really understand why people want a bit of sparkle and joy in their lives, especially during your gloomy Winter. I hope Christmas is a joyful time for you, and that you have fun decorating your tree.

    • laura bruno lilly

      That cumquat tree sounds like quite an artistic addition to the holiday decos!
      Sending you Christmas cheer across the many oceans…

  12. Laura Kate

    I think “Lean into the joy” will be my motto for the rest of 2020.

    • laura bruno lilly

      I like that, Laura!

  13. rl2b2017

    Hi Laura! Oh, it definitely is a year for more JOY however that is found. Flash looking pretty darn nifty surrounded by other snowmen! Thanks for the shoutout and also one for Vicki. But for her, our toppers wouldn’t even be a glimmer. ~smile~ Roseanne

    • laura bruno lilly

      Flash is enJOYing the Snowman Family Reunion…

  14. Marty

    I’ve often wondered about the dangers of getting a real tree too early. Your own thoughts mirror mine: dry trees are a fire hazard and messy. But I’m the guy who once left his lit menorah unattended in a college dorm only to have it nearly burn the place down (thankfully some sharp-eyed passerby put it out). So I guess I’m not really in a position to judge!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Too Funny, Marty! No dry needles with a menorah, tho, that’s for sure.

  15. Frank @ Beach Walk Reflections

    Oh yes …. we need Christmas 2020 … It’s going to be different, just have to figure out a way to make it good. 🙂

  16. petespringerauthor

    I just read a piece (sorry I can’t remember where) about how many people started with their trees and decorations earlier this year as one response to the pandemic. It makes sense as it is one way to bring in some joy to what has been one of the gloomiest periods in history.

    • laura bruno lilly

      When hubby and I talked about a real ‘date’ to put up our earlier than usual Christmas tree, we decided on a date that would allow for that earlier need for fun without then becoming ‘stale’ too soon. Our target date is coming up in the next few days! The anticipation is just as fun as the actual doing.

  17. Chela's Colchas y Mas

    Our mayor lit the downtown river lights before Thanksgiving, because he thought we all needed some joy. He is such a wonderful mayor, doing so much to help us during this pandemic. This year, as always,
    Thanksgiving dinner was followed by a Christmas movie marathon and house decorating. When I was a child, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade meant so much to me. Christmas began as soon as I saw Santa on his float. My mom decorated every inch of the house. Ten years ago, I recovered from cancer, and my sister treated me to New York to actually see the Parade in person. I was dancing in the street, along with the children, as Santa appeared. I have a little Christmas tree in my sewing room, that brings me lots of joy. This pandemic has reinforced my belief that it is the little things that bring us joy.
    Thanks for your post.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Oh that’s amazing about your mayor…makes me want to move to where the Alamo still stands.
      I love the visual of a grown woman from a smallish town rejoicing in the streets of NYC – celebrating the gift of being cancer-free during Santa’s appearance during one Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.
      Thank you for sharing, Chela, and keep on embracing the ‘little things that bring us joy’.

  18. LA


  19. piecefulwendy

    We are a fresh cut tree family; however, we don’t get our tree until after the 12th of December. There’s a reason for that, but anyway. This year, we are wondering if there will be any fresh cut trees left. We may end up with a Charlie Brown number – ha! So I haven’t gotten any decorations up yet, but soon! Love the little tabletopper made by Roseanne, and designed by Vicki (she lives close to me). So fun!

    • laura bruno lilly

      A belated shout-out to Vicki for designing such a fun table topper!
      Our family, too, is a ‘real’ tree family. The past few years have not been amenable to such delights. This year we succumbed to buying the ‘new’ artificial tree mentioned in the post!
      EnJOY your Charlie Brown tree…it will no doubt bring much inner pleasure for you all.

  20. L. Marie

    Love the photo with Flash! ?
    Laura, my tree went up before Thanksgiving, thanks to a friend who brought one and decorated it! She knew that I was in a funk and needed the beautiful tree to look at.
    I agree that we need the cheer of the decorations. But mostly, we need the Light behind it all.

    • laura bruno lilly

      hugs to you and your special ‘tree’ friend.

  21. Laura

    I think that this year, especially, people need the joy of twinkling lights and sparkling ornaments. They need the joy that comes from the physical representation of tradition and gift giving. I bet that table runner brings a smile every time you look at it! I’ve watched Roseanne as she blogs about her snowmen…so cute!

    Thank you for the Nehemiah verse…I needed to hear that! 🙂

    • laura bruno lilly

      Yep, agreed, Laura! Bring on the sparkle, bring on the twinkle!
      And let the Light shine ever stronger in this present challenge.
      hugs – stay strong.

  22. marissthequilter

    I agree wholeheartedly. Let’s grasp the joy that comes our way, in whichever guise.
    You have reminded me how lucky we are to be able to harvest our own Christmas tree each year as pine trees grow like weeds at Hogsback.

    • laura bruno lilly

      I like the visual of pine trees growing like weeds!
      EnJOY your 2020 mission to harvest just the right one for Christmas this season.

  23. Jill Weatherholt

    Okay…I need more coffee. I meant to say the table top is adorable!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Coffee is a ‘joy’ thing, too, right?
      BTW: I can’t seem to get ‘enrolled’ in your newsletter. I’ve tried several different ways and times via your website, but to no avail. Perhaps you could sign me up? Thanks.

      • Jill Weatherholt

        Coffee…most definitely! I don’t want to type your email here to protect your privacy, but are you still using the “purple” address?

  24. Jill Weatherholt

    Do what brings you joy. During these challenging times, this is so important. I love the tree stand, Laura. Our home has been decorated since the first week in November.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Heh-heh: Oh boy, November 1st! That’s a first for me, too!

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