While searching for a picture to put on the family Christmas card, I scrolled past a snapshot of our garden that was taken in March before we had added any fence, plants or seeds.
“That’s a nice square of dirt,” my 12-year-old son said, peering over my shoulder.
The flat, brown piece of land boasted nothing but the bare sticks of a lone blueberry bush, a row of strawberry plants with burnt brown leaves and the tracks of a few deer that must have been disappointed to find a lack of food where they wandered.
My son and I passed over the boring, brown square of Earth and went more traditional in selecting a picture for our card. Our family’s holiday greetings were proclaimed with an awkward group selfie taken in front of our decorated Christmas tree.
Later, as I drove down a nearby highway that passes through empty fields, I started thinking about silly pictures we could take in the garden this summer to put on next year’s card.
A picture of us digging to eradicate weeds could read: Hoe, hoe, hoe!
We could add lights and bows to a tomato bush full of red bauble-like fruit and caption the picture: Christmas in July.
We could put Santa hats on the pumpkins and a red suit on a scarecrow and label the picture: Christmas patch.
Advertisers keep pushing Christmas earlier and earlier. Already, many merchants encourage shopping on Thanksgiving Day, and some stores unveil their Christmas displays as early as October. It’s not too farfetched that they would expand into September while the Green Thumbs are still admiring our towering sunflowers and picking the last of our green peppers and tomatoes.
The sleigh-driving reindeer might welcome the start of an earlier Christmas season, which would give them a legitimate excuse to be in the garden. But Santa would swelter wearing that red suit of his in mid-August and September.
Yes, Viriginia, it’s better for Santa and everyone else to keep Christmas out of the garden. But worry not. Planting a gift box of garden gloves or herb scissors underneath the family tree in December is highly recommended.