Along with the new year, more and more Christmas trees are appearing on the streets of Hamburg. At first they make their entrance alone, being dropped here and there, but soon they form assemblies or piles on the sidewalk near street corners and intersections, huddling together as if to find strength in numbers to avoid the unavoidable pickup by the waste collection crew.
There is an ebb and flow to this seasons of postchristmas: The city’s cleansing department arranges to pick up the trees on two scheduled dates after the usual end of christian Christmas festivities on the 6th of January. Even before this, the first lone trees can already be seen as early as New Years Day, as if eager to get out of the houses and appartments. Their numbers peak around the appointed collection dates, after which the trees all but disappear from the streets. The best trees, however, appear later, sometimes much later.
Unable to rely on strength in numbers, and slyly displaying their former owner’s trangsgressive behaviour of missing the scheduled dates for pickup, these rare specimen of bone dry latecomers can appear as far removed from Christmas as Easter, contrasting with a surrounding changed by the coming of spring and the distance from the holiday season. These are the prized, clearest expressions of postchristmas, which require persistence and sheer luck to find.