When Randy was nine years old, he thought the worst day of the year had to be January 2, the day people began the annual dumping of Christmas trees on the side of the road. By the end of the week, there were sad piles of dried up trees waiting to be taken where ever old Christmas trees go. For a sensitive nine year old, the carnage was almost too much to bare.
By the time of he was eleven, Randy had developed the notion that something had to be done about this annual travesty. But he had no idea what that could be.
By the time of his twelfth Christmas, Randy had stopped believing in Santa Claus after waking up at 2AM on Christmas Eve to catch of a glimpse of his mother hurried carrying beautiful wrapped presents from the car to the living room. For some months he had harbored doubts about the jolly old fat man thing as it just seemed too bizarre to be true. Seeing his mother was the final proof. As a result, his distaste for the annual Christmas tree dump was pretty much forgotten that year.
And for many many years after.
Until Randy had a child of his own.
Like most children to their parents, Billy meant the world to Randy. He was Randy’s reason for living. Indisputably the best thing that ever happened to him. And like most parents, Randy would do anything for him.
So when Randy saw five year old Billy noticing the piles of abandoned Christmas trees his heart quickly sank straight back to his childhood, and he had to do something about those damn trees.
On a chilly January 3 late night after work, Randy burrowed his buddy’s truck, tossed as many trees as it could hold into the back, and drove about a half hour until he reached the nearby foothills. He found a clearing where he set them up in a small Christmas tree forest. There were at least fifteen of them. Some of them were still draped with bedraggled strands of gold and silver tinsel. Randy pulled out some old ornaments and decorated his trees.
The next day when Randy took him to visit the trees, Billy’s eyes and mouth gaped in wonder. Billy giggled and danced around the trees, and Randy could not help but tear up.
“Christmas after!” squealed Billy joyfully.
“You mean, after Christmas,” Randy corrected.
“No,” Billy disagreed. “This is Christmas After!” It seemed as good a name as any, and Randy knew it was now a tradition.