I tend to keep my trees up longer than a lot of my neighbors. I also decorate more trees than most of my neighbors (eight this year). I have a suspicion that they take bets on when I will pack the last one away!
It is hard to let go of the light and color at this dark time of the year. It is especially hard when the day the last tree is taken down is snowy and blustering with white stuff blowing off the roofs in billows and drifting faster than you want to go out and shovel it.
When you have a tree up for weeks each year, the ornaments get dusty. It took me a while to pack away my living room tree because I had to rub the dust from each bauble as I put it away. I have special cardboard storage boxes for my glass ornaments. (The paper breathes and doesn’t trap moisture like a plastic box.) I keep my ornaments and other decorations in my dry basement out of harm’s way at a stable temperature–not too hot or cold.
After the trees come down, I sweep, vacuum, and dust each room. The furniture is rearranged, I change around the knick-knacks on shelves and tables, and reconsider the stuff that owns me. It is a stark fresh start to a new year. The pendulum swings from over-the-top festive excess to “What can I give to Goodwill?”
I haven’t totally given up my Christmas lights. I have one little tree that I light with no ornamentation. My mother used to keep it at the end of her dark hall in the house on county road M. (I call it The House on M rather than Home because my mother no longer lives there–kind of like the airplane the President travels in isn’t called Air Force One unless he is in it.) It provided light for a large teddy bear that sat in an old wooden child’s rocking chair. It now sits in a dark corner of my living room. I have it lit tonight and on any blustery day, year round. It is a spot of comfort whatever the season. Begonia