Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas in February...or March...why not April?

Yes, my tree is still up. And who said it was any of your business, huh? It's bad luck to take it down before the New Year starts anyway. I guess that hails back to when people burned the Yule log until New Year's and then kept a small portion to start the next year's Yule log with. A lot of people take their trees down the day after Christmas. Even more wait until January 1st. A few wait until Epiphany, aka Three Kings Day or the 12th day of Christmas, on January 6. Me? Well now, that depends.

There was that one year we had a large boxwood wreath with a red bow on the front of our house until April. But you see, it was so beautiful, so we left it up thinking the red bow could also be for St. Valentine's Day. Well, we didn't get it taken down right after February 14th, and a bird built it's nest in the bottom curve of the wreath. Since it was right in front of our living room window, we got a bird's-eye view, so to speak, of the wonders of  life. We got to watch the eggs hatch, the babies grow, and the bird poo build up against the window. Oh yes, they might be small, but they sure go a lot. We learned our lesson, though, and have never left a wreath on the front of the house after New Year's.

Then there was the year that we left the outside bows and tinsel up until March. I had two small toddlers who could not be trusted to behave themselves while I went outside to take down the decorations. So, I waited until even the mailman was making snide comments before I finally packed the kids outside on a relatively warm day and took down my Christmas decorations.  
Our darling daughter was born a week before Christmas in 2003. Believe it or not, I believe that tree came down pretty early in January. The following year, however, it was still up on St. Valentine's Day. I even have the pictures to prove it. I guess when you have a child who is still breast-feeding, a preschooler, a kindergartner, and a fifth-grader, you're just too pooped to tackle things like Christmas trees.

Most years, the tree comes down in mid-to late-January. You see, I'm so busy once December starts that I don't get to just sit and enjoy it. So after Christmas, I really take advantage of the fact that I have a very real-looking artificial tree. It won't become a fire hazard like one of those sweet-smelling real trees that I'm so allergic to. I decorate for all the major holidays: St. Valentine's, St. Patrick's, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and, obviously, Christmas. But what I really love are Christmas trees and decorations. They bring me a quiet joy and sense of peace that no other holiday decoration can give me. I surround my family with Christmas throughout the house every year. This year, I have 3 separate villages, a grouping of Saint Nicholas figures and Nativities, a 7.5 foot Christmas tree, a 6.5 foot Christmas tree, and a 2.5 foot Christmas tree. My "magic" lighthouse ornaments adorn the greenery going down the stairs, and I have ornaments scattered in almost every room of the house. In fact, I just got my kids trees on clearance for their rooms. I was going to save them to put up next year, but they begged to have them up last night. So now the only un-decorated rooms are my bedroom and the bathroom.   

I don't understand people who hate decorating for Christmas. If my house was big enough, I would have a Christmas room where the decorations stayed up all year. For now, I go through the house in the evenings and turn off all the lights. Then I just bask in the warm glow.  Every year my children and the nieces and nephews on my side of the family get an ornament from me to celebrate who they were and what they did that year. To me, the decorations on the tree are much more important than what gets put under it. Is it a lot of work? Oh yes, I won't lie to you. It takes me a couple of weeks to finish decorating. If I could just be at home devoting time to it, I'm sure it would go much faster. But I work on it in free moments, and eventually, I can step back and say, "Voila! My masterpiece is finished!" Then I pour a glass of wine for myself and my darling husband, and enjoy the lights while we snuggle. My children love to ooh and aah over the decorations, and have asked me why we ever have to take them down. Well, my house is small, and to get all the Christmas into it that I manage to, I have to re-arrange things. Other rooms in the house become more crowded with excess furniture that simply wouldn't fit in the rooms with the trees. And that's what eventually causes me to take down my decorations. When I bang my shin one too many times on the things that had to be moved to our bedroom, I decide to take everything down. It's funny that it takes so much less time to disassemble than it did to assemble, but it seems like only a day or two later, everything is packed up and in the attic. Then my house is back to normal for another few months, and I feel a little sad. I start to look forward to the weekend after, or sometimes before, Thanksgiving when my dear husband helps me cart down over a dozen boxes and tubs of Christmas cheer to be spread throughout the house.

So yes, my decorations are still up. Come enjoy them with me!