I read on another blog that taking down Christmas decorations is one of the most depressing chores ever. I don't know about THE most (I, personally loathe cleaning the kitty box because it feels like I'm doing it all the time,) but it is certainly up there.
There is a certain irony to that prized window of time when Christmas decorations are acceptable to have up. We scoff at the over-efficient neighbors who start putting their lights up the minute they digest their Thanksgiving turkey, and yet there is a certain jealousy too that they got them up before we did. And when we have everything done and see people buying their trees on December 20th, there's a certain sigh of relief there too. "Whew! At least we didn't wait that long!"
But after Christmas is a whole different story. When I was teaching I would really try to take my decorations down before the vacation was over. If I didn't, then my first weekend after returning to work had to be devoted to the task. But now, what's acceptable?
This is the first Christmas EVER that I have woken up on Christmas morning in a hotel room. It is also the first Christmas ever that I went to Disneyland on Christmas Day (never again!) And, even though we came back to our house in WA on January 5th, Christmas and its decorations already felt very out of date.
Our neighbors across the street are of the uber-efficient sort, so everything of theirs (lights, tree, etc) was all down by the time we pulled into our driveway after that 2-day, 1000-mile drive last Thursday night. Eric and I have been productive these last few days, but not extremely so. It wasn't until today when he looked at me and said, "Um, are we going to take the Christmas decorations down soon? Or are we just getting a jump on next year?" that I realized it was time to get a move on.
Thankfully, taking them down takes a fraction of the time it takes to put them up. I'm about halfway done at this point. All that is left is the main tree in the living room and the 2 nativities. The 2 smaller trees and all of the boutique decorations are put away. The outside lights are the hubby's job for his days off. Lucky him. It is cold outside!
But thinking back to the statement I heard about taking down the decorations being the most depressing chore in the world...maybe it isn't really about taking them down, but about what it represents. The hype and excitement of the holiday season is over and real life is making its appearance once more. I know lots of people who can't stand Christmas and the chore of putting the decorations UP, but I'm not one of those people. I LOVE Christmas and always have, including the frenzy of buying and wrapping gifts, fighting the crowds and all that. I love it. Don't judge me.
I see Christmas as a time when we remember the Savior even more, when we try to be a little kinder, when we separate the actual meaning from the hype, and pause to enjoy the lights and hug our family members a little tighter.
Sure, we may be taking down the decorations, but the feelings are something we should hold on to all year round.
**UPDATE: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 5:30pm**
The decorations are all put away! Hooray!