Christmas came down yesterday. The baubles and bows, boughs and glitter came off the tree. Doorframes were stripped and tabletops decluttered as Christmas was once again wrapped up in tissue and nestled in boxes and bags for a long winter's nap.
It will wait for next Christmas to appear on the horizon like Ellie, my golden retriever, waiting by the door for me to come home. She knows I'm coming home, she just doesn't know when. And morning 'til dark feels like a lifetime in dog years. Just like I'm sure January to December feels like a decade to the little drummer boy and tin soldier nestled in their beds all year.
As a child, I was the proverbial, 'are we there yet' questionner. I didn't like surprises and always wanted to know, what's next, is it ready, are we there, why is it taking so long.
I am reminded of my childhood impatience as I take down Christmas. It is such an opposite experience to putting up Christmas. Putting Christmas up, I savour every ornament. Tell stories about where we bought this one, who gave us that one, to anyone who will listen. It takes time to put up Christmas. It takes loving care and attention. It takes the entire family.
Taking it down.... not so much.
Sure, I do tenderly place each bauble and ball into tissue before placing it carefully in a box. I don't want any broken glass come next Christmas.
But loving care?
The tree is brittle. It's needles fall everywhere. I'm constantly ouching and groaning as I search the branches for hidden treasures.
And as to family involvement?
Well.... let's just say it's a lonely job taking down Christmas. I didn't know grown children could still disappear like ghosts of Scrooges Christmases past when the words 'why don't you help me take down Christmas' are spoken.
They can help put it up. Why can't they help take it down?
And maybe that's the thing about taking down Christmas. When putting it up, I make a fuss about setting the atmosphere. There's anticipation in the air, there's laughter and good treats and music playing and the house is aglow in the excitement of Christmas coming to visit one more time.
I don't do any of that in the take down mode. It's a job. Let's get it done. Many hands are better than two. Pitch in why don't you?
I think my Christmas spirit gets taken down in the holidays and is all worn out by now.
I think maybe taking Christmas down is a job best done alone, anyway. That way, nobody else has to share in my ill humour. My 'why do I always have to do it alone?' whining.
Maybe, taking down Christmas is my opportunity to get a little more year-round mirth spirited away in my heart.
Maybe... it's not the taking down Christmas that's the problem. Maybe... it's me!
Oh well. There's always next Christmas to be cherry about pine needles all over the floor and dust bunnies tucked away behind baskets of pinecones and a missing box that just won't appear to place the snowdome into.
Yes. That's it. There's always next Christmas!