This holiday decor won’t put itself away

Let’s ponder how the Christmas season ends, while I pat myself on the back for making it through the first full day of work after the 1st this week with writing 2013 every time it was appropriate — no 2012s to correct.

There seems to be no real consensus as to when to take down the Christmas decorations, and most especially when the tree comes down. Some hold out for Little Christmas, with biblical references to the Epiphany. Jan. 6 is the date I’ve seen attributed to that, but others may say it’s the Sunday after New Year’s. At any rate, that’s when the Three Wise Men were said to make their visit to the baby Jesus. So, if you want a consistent, steady date you could shoot for the 6th, which means you’re going to be busy Sunday.

Others I’ve known insist that the decorations come down right after Christmas, well before New Year’s Day, even. Those are the people who I think may be a little too meticulous and organized for me. Or maybe they’re the ones who had the Christmas tree decorated sometime right after Halloween. I guess I’d be tired of it by then, too.

Back in the days before artificial trees so totally dominated over real trees, the decision of when to remove the Christmas tree was made easier by the increasing number of needles on the floor. One barefoot walk past the tree that ended in hopping around with dried-up evergreen needles in one foot, and it was time for it to go — natural pine smell and all.
Our removing of the decorations was sped up just a little this year when the college student of the family let it be known that he “thought it would be a good idea” to get back to school a few days early. Something to do with buying books and checking out the class schedule. I translated that to loosely mean “sick and tired of hanging around here with the parents and ready to get back to where I’m on my own and surrounded by friends.” Funny how parents hear things differently.

Oh, well, one thing that early departure meant was, since a good number of the ornaments on the tree are “his,” the task had to be done before he left.

As for the rest of the decorations, they’ve been slowly disappearing in the days after Christmas, as my more motivated and harder working wife had been eating that elephant one bite at a time. That doesn’t seem to have the air of finality that removing the tree does, though. That’s when you know the holiday season is over, when the tree is tucked away — or thrown away — for another year.

Outside lights are a completely different beast for a couple of reasons. It seems like in most households, “putting up the lights” is a job for the man of the house. That means taking down the lights could take a while. Ever since the football bowl season has been stretched out into the “game a night for a fortnight” manner that it is now, there are just too many distractions. Besides, if it starts to seem that we’re too far into January to have colored lights beaming from the edge of the roof, we could always just unplug them for a while. Am I right, guys? We can then shoot for that dead weekend that hits just before the Super Bowl each year.

If nothing else, the removing of the outdoor displays is a little weather driven, too. Sure, we’ll put the things out in miserable weather. We have to — there’s a deadline looming. Christmas hits Dec. 25 if we have the lights up or not. Bringing them down, that’s another story. Having said that, I think I’ll be out of excuses this weekend. It’s actually supposed to be nice this weekend. And I didn’t get too carried away this year, so I may be able to get them down to the ground at least during halftime of a game.

Then I guess Christmas will be over. And if the groundhog sees his shadow, we’ll have six more weeks of no advertising for Christmas 2013.

Russ Batenhorst

Don't expect to detect a common topic or theme in Russ Batenhorst's weekly column in the Hastings Tribune. Usually it's whatever slice-of-life observation pops into his head just in time to make the deadline for it to appear each Friday.

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