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January 2010
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Putting Away Christmas

Some years I am so eager to be done with the holiday season that I take down the tree on boxing day. Those years I am in a hurry to reclaim my front room and normality from the clutter of tree, nativity, and seasonal books. Other years I want to savor the holiday feeling for a more extended period of time. This year the need to un-decorate sneaked up on me. It dawned on me slowly that today is New Year’s Day and that my front room is still full of Christmas. Some time before Monday morning I need my front room to not be full of Christmas anymore. I need to hit the ground running on Monday because the first of the year accounting is looming and I’ve got a list of business contacts to refresh.

Knowing the job needed to be done, I decided that the sooner it was done the better. So I rallied my reluctant forces and we began to un-decorate. In this case the forces were my kids. They are always enthusiastic about decorating and completely uninterested in putting things away. (This is also true with most of their toys, but that is a problem for a different day.) I started by requiring them each to remove 50 ornaments from the tree. Thus I discovered that we own approximately 150 ornaments. I’m not sure what I’ll do with this little factoid, but there it is. Mostly I was pleased to have all the ornaments transferred from tree to box in less than 10 minutes. The tree itself was carted downstairs and shoved into the giant duffel bag we use as storage.

At that point I released my minions from bondage and they fled back to their games. The rest was up to me. The tree is our big Christmas effort. Everything else fits into three boxes. This year I decided to organize and sort as I put things away. It is a small gift that I am giving to my next-December self. She will discover less chaos in the Christmas boxes, which is a good thing.

The boxes are all stowed. The various debris have been swept. The furniture is put back in the regular locations. My front room feels light and spacious. Over the next few weeks various Christmas items will surface from odd corners of the house and I will shove them into the tops of the Christmas boxes. We’re ready for what comes next.

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