December 29th, 2011
10:11 AM ET

Letters to the President #1074: 'Still celebrating'

Reporter's Note: Much of Washington goes dormant between Christmas and New Years, which is, for my money, as it should be.

Dear Mr. President,

There are families which take down their Christmas decorations the moment the holiday is over; folks who douse the lights, scrap the leftover wrapping paper, and fold up the tree like a camping tent faster than Santa can scramble back up the chimney.

Not us. We hold on in our house. We like to keep the tree up until at least King’s Day, even if that means watching it slowly turn into a ready made fire hazard that could be set off by the static of a passing fat man in corduroy pants. It’s worth it to keep that holiday feeling in the room.

Actually, we’re that way about every holiday. We decorate for all the regular ones, like Valentine’s Day, 4th of July, and Thanksgiving of course, but we also haul out the streamers and mantle pieces for Chinese New Year, Mardi Gras, St. Patricks, and National Dog Week. Usually there is some sort of special dinner involved at some point, some old customs (“Time for rolling the fruit down the stairs! Come on, kids!”) and probably some small gifts to each other.

It’s time consuming, something of a hassle, and completely worth it.

Look, I grew up in small towns where often there was not a lot to do. We looked forward to the carnival coming once a year, and maybe the River Festival, and the odd fireworks display and that was about it. So I relish every break from the ordinary.

You don’t have these problems. For crying out loud, you’re living the White House and spending Christmas in Hawaii. But against the backdrop of our nation’s problems, more than ever I love a few moments to remember how good things can be, and how wonderful one can feel amid family, friends, and good times.

So if you’re thinking you need to get right back to work, don’t hurry on my account.

Hope the middle of this holiday week is finding you well.


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