As I write this, you can’t walk my upstairs hallway without walking past a stack of boxes or worrying about a Rubbermaid storage container tower falling. I have boxes of garlands and containers full of wreaths; one for the decorative “picks” for the Christmas trees and another for the crib.
It’s January and the official end of the holidays, which for me means one thing, it’s time for the decor to fall.
For some people, it happens much earlier. Stores seem to start selling Christmas decorations earlier and earlier, and the Christmas season has accelerated and is therefore longer.
My best friend from college decorates for the holidays right after Halloween. And after two full months of Christmas decorating, she’s ready to drop as soon as the presents are opened and the Christmas dinner is over. This meant she was packing her Christmas trees and putting away the outdoor lights on December 26th.
For others, there is the tradition of leaving the Christmas tree in place until Epiphany, usually in the first or second week of January. Epiphany, which is technically January 6, is a day in the Christian calendar intended to celebrate the baptism of Jesus.
But then there are people like me falling somewhere in the middle. When I was a child, my mother never planted her tree until the beginning of December, and it fell shortly after New Years. Things always felt a little more festive even after Christmas with our tree still standing. It still felt like the holidays until the New Years, which made January even more feel like “starting over” when it was time to take down all the decor.
This is something that I continued in my home with my family, leaving the decor until after New Years Day. After that, it depends on our schedule and when the kids go back to school as to when the Christmas trees finally fall. It’s also a balancing act – because while I like to see my house decorated with Christmas lights, I also don’t want to be “that house”, the one people look aside as they walk by. car after vacation. .
This year I tried to involve my children in the cleaning process. When the time comes to put up the Christmas decorations, my husband and I have a method: we take things out of the attic together, then I climb the trees. (Yes, it’s plural. As of this year, we technically have four large ones, along with smaller trees in the children’s rooms and two near our mantle)
Once the boxes have come down from the attic, it’s up to me to decorate the house. Partly because it’s something I enjoy, but also partly because we have more than one Christmas tree. My husband favors all of our Christmas decorations, as long as he doesn’t have to take care of it a lot.
And so, while my kids volunteer to help decorate the trees, they’re often in their own post-Christmas trances when it’s time for all the decorations to drop. And it takes at least a few days to put everything away. This year I did it in a record eight hours, with minor help from my 10 year old son. So I’m sitting in front of my computer with a sore back, tired arms, surrounded by stacks of Rubbermaid storage boxes with a floor sprinkled with glitter.
Happy January everyone. It’s time to put away the Christmas decorations. Outside with the old, with the new (year). It’ll take me until November at least to have the energy to get all that decor out of the attic again, anyway.
Lydia Seabol Avant writes The Mom Stop for The Tuscaloosa News. Contact her at [email protected]