The more Christmas spirit the better. Picture: istock
The more Christmas spirit the better. Picture: istock

If your Christmas tree isn’t up by now, it’s too late

Ah, Christmas: one of the most controversial times of the year, when the closest of friends and family can be divided over the fundamentals of the season.

Pudding, or trifle? Gifts for all or Kris Kringle? Hot roast dinner or chilled seafood? Mariah Carey or Michael Bublé?

And the most polarising question of all: When should you put up the Christmas tree?

Even though there were exactly zero pine trees that night in Bethlehem, this is an important topic.

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You see, there are many options. For some, the '12 Days of Christmas' thing is a time-honoured option and gives the disorganised a chance to catch up to those who go all out on December 1. Others opt to deck the halls on Saint Nicholas Day, December 6. For people in Adelaide, it's even earlier than that.

Will Ferrell with Zooey Deschanel in a scene from the film Elf. Picture: Elf
Will Ferrell with Zooey Deschanel in a scene from the film Elf. Picture: Elf

Although I've lived in Sydney for the past two years, the Adelaide Christmas tree rule will always be obeyed in my house. It's been ingrained in me for my whole life that one does not erect one's Christmas tree until the Christmas Pageant.

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What's a Christmas Pageant, you ask. Put simply, it's a big, gigantic, over the top public parade of Christmassy goodness which marches through the streets of Adelaide every year in November. It's been happening since 1933 and, yes, it is the largest Christmas parade in the world. Basically, it makes you feel like warm, delicious eggnog (or some other Christmas drink that's not revolting) has filled you up. And behold: magical holiday spirit abounds.

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It is meaningful. It is tradition. It's also the day of the year in which for many of us Adelaideans, the Christmas tree goes up.

And, as with anything Christmas related, this rule is controversial. Here's the thing, though. Those of you in other states and territories who have no pageant rules to live by and choose to be the Grinch who doesn't put up their trees until the week before Christmas are missing out.

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There's a truly compelling reason why you should put your tree up as early as you can. I've been around long enough to know that some years, there will be painful Christmases. Years when you're not feeling it and seasons when the spirit is just not there. That happened to me the year my father died.

I'm not naive enough to believe there won't be other Christmases like that. And this is why you've got to embrace the good years, enjoy Christmas as a season rather than just a single day, and make the whole time amazing for you and your kids. Because you never know if next year, the last thing on your mind will be when you put up your tree.

So, celebrate hard and celebrate early. Treat the season like a fresh fir tree itself - here for a good time, not a long time. Even if you're not from Adelaide, there's no reason to not get into the Pageant spirit next year.

Nama Winston is a columnist with Rendezview.