I don’t have a picture of my Christmas tree the week before it came down, because it seemed morbid to photograph its last wretched days. You’ll have to trust me on this point: it was looking pretty miserable – any internet comments section would have diagnosed it with depression, possibly bipolar, and started prescribing meds, with at least one wandering moron insisting that it just had Asperger’s and we should all leave it alone.
Having recently polled friends and friends of friends on Facebook about this issue, I know that many people out there are heathens who rid their house of festive shrubbery on boxing day. These people are doing it wrong, and their lives are poorer for the lack of Christmas they suffer.
I also know that some people choose to remove the lightning rod of joy on New Year’s Day, claiming the year can only hold one Christmas. I’m not sure what these people think would happen to next Christmas if we cling to this one too long – I backed out of the conversation pretty quickly at that point, recognizing the light of zealotry when I see it dancing in someone’s pupils.
For the record, Christmas begins on Christmas Day and lasts for 12 days. Yes, just like the song. The last day is Epiphany, an ancient Greek word which means “sudden realization that it’s absolutely time to get rid of that tree before it sprouts roots and ruins your floors forever, like happened that one time to your Grandma’s friend, Margo. Remember her? And everybody thought she was crazy, but it’s just that she left her decorations up too long and they finally became structural and if she’d finally got rid of them her house literally would have collapsed around her ears. They had to sell the place like that, if you can believe they found a buyer. Took a bath on it, let me tell you!”
Greek is a really efficient language.
Anyway, around here, we don’t remove Christmas from the house until after we’ve been given the official nod from the liturgical calendar, and that means waiting for Epiphany. We’ve agreed on that date after some haggling, since I would just as happily leave them up year ‘round, except for the fact that the tree starts to droop and look sad, as previously mentioned. Husband, after discovering that I will not, in fact, “just sort this out on my own, like a grown-up,” agreed years ago to be the designated Christmas taker-downer.
I started crying during these negotiations. No lie.
Husband then realized that he would need to distract me* on the day that he and Offspring take down all of the decorations and put them away (carefully, and per my exacting specifications, so I can’t just be sent out of the house in case there’s a question about something) so that I might maintain the illusion that all is well and still Christmassy abovestairs right up until the moment when everything is done and put away for another ten months.
All of this to say that last weekend was the weekend for ruining my joy. Husband and Offspring sent me downstairs to regain my honor in the basement while they surreptitiously ** carried organizers out of the basement holiday storage area (oh yeah, it’s a whole aisle of Christmas back there) and up the stairs, then back down the stairs… occasionally stopping in their tracks when I barked out, “you’re not doing anything that will make me sad, are you?”
If you’re getting the sense that they live with a madwoman, it’s because they do.
When it was all done, they invited me to come upstairs under some pretense, to get my initial shock out of the way. That could have gone better, since they half-assed the job I never wanted them to do in the first place.
ME: Our tree is gone, but there’s still garlands and things.
HIM: …Yeah. It’s nice, right? This way, you’ll still have Christmas.
ME: It looks like we’ve been robbed. This is worse.
HIM: (sighs) Okay, then we’ve got more work to do tomorrow.
ME: YOU did this?
OFFSPRING: Santa came. He said there was a light on the tree that wouldn’t light on one side. So he’s taking it back to the workshop –
ME: Was he green and furry and muttering about gentrification?!?!
HIM: Sounds shady to me. Sounds like you let the Grinch steal Mom’s Christmas tree.
ME: (tears up)
HIM: (hugs me soothingly)
ME: (high-pitched sound of distress)
HIM: (horrified face)
OFFSPRING: (horrified face)
ME: What’s that face?
HIM: I was just wondering what needs to break inside a person for them to make that noise.
ME: (wandering back to basement) eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
The noise must’ve worked, because not only did the rest of the decorations get put up properly the very next day, but look what Husband ordered off Amazon to soften the blow
So I’m sat here writing this on a massive sugar high. But it’s okay, because it’s acutally a really healthy, whole grain breakfast. Look!
We live in a golden age, my friends. I can get fucking Count Chocula delivered to my doorstep in January. Sort of. I mean, I can’t get the UPS guy to leave it on the front step, where it’d be covered and safe and dry, but he left it in the middle of the walk, exposed to all the snow and freezing rain, which is almost as good, right? No, it isn’t, but I’m not even mad, because my cereal survived thanks to Amazon’s overpackaging, and I’ve got an amazing sugar buzz going on. By the time this posts I’ll probably be coming down, but there should still be some chocolaty goodness left by then… right?
* Yes, of course we used Dishonored 2 this year. No, I’m not “done yet,” but thank you for judging. And if you know where to find that last rune in the Duke’s palace, help me out!
** Not at all, actually. They are both very bad at sneaking around. Like, comically bad at it.