Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Un-Deck the Halls

dec·o·ra·tion [dek-uh-rey-shuhn] –noun
1. something used for decorating; adornment; embellishment
2. the act of decorating Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

I took down the Christmas decorations this morning.

Some people take their decorations down earlier. Many as early as December 26th. More than a few leave their decorations up for longer. Some very few never take them down. *glares at the neighbor who leaves his outside icicle lights up all year*

Traditionally, I take them down on January 2nd. (I put up the tree and decorations the day afterThanksgiving every year). I got lazy this year. The tree is still up, though bare of adornment. I didn't feel like fighting with it, just yet. It's a 78-inch pre-lit, silver tree. (That's a little more than 198 centimeters for my non-American friends). It won't be too hard to disassemble; three pieces, with upward folding branches, and the base. It's just that I built two new shelving units to hold all our DVD's (300+) so I could use the space the bigger, clunkier units were in, and now there is nothing to take up that rather large, bare space. I might move the kid's computer to that corner.

My Christmas tree, 2006 .. and my hiding cat behind it. Here is the tree, and corner. If you look close behind the base of it, you can see one of my cats ... Tut. Maybe I'll write about him some time. He'd like that. He loves attention.

So, the decorations are packed for another year. The house is back to its normal, fairly drab existence. Though I do need to find some tchotchkes to display on top of the new, and oh so bland, DVD shelves. Drat! I should've used tchotchke as my word of the day. *sigh* (It means a cheap showy trinket, btw)

I suppose the next real "holiday" in the US will be Dr. Martin Luther King Day. A great man with a great vision, but not a holiday you decorate for. Heck, not a holiday most people in the US celebrate, for that matter. Government and schools will be closed, but, for the most part, the day will slide by uncommented by most people.

Saint Valentine's Day would likely be the next "big" holiday. The only nod to it I will likely make is to buy my mother some nice flowers, and give the kids some candy. No decorations for that one here. Stores, however, will be practically bathed in red hearts. I like going into stores the day after and buying up some Valentine's Day candy at ridiculously marked down rates.

Saint Patrick's Day would be the next biggie. No decorating for that one here, either. A few places might. Usually in the beer and snack aisles. Kids will probably bring home a paper shamrock they made in class. If so, they'll decorate the front door for a week or two. They themselves might be decorated with tiny bruises from being pinched for not wearing green. Oh, how I hated that little "tradition". I usually got away with a green hair barrette or something. Nowadays, with the school uniforms, they can't wear much besides the prescribed clothing. I try to find a green sticker they can put on their shirt to avoid it, but inevitably one or the other comes home whining that someone stole it or it fell off in P.E.

Easter will likely be the next real decoration for the house. Not a whole lot, like Christmas. Just a few pastel bunny rabbits with plastic, colored eggs, maybe a nice flower basket. A discrete diorama of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. We aren't deeply religious, but still honor the true reason behind Easter. (Well, the real, true reason behind Easter was originally a pagan fertility and rites of spring festival which Christians decided to co-opt as it also fell during the observance of Passover - hence eggs and bunnies and other spring related icons).

Independence Day, the Fourth of July, gets short shrift at home, too. The only decorations arewhatever creations the kids bring home from camp. We used to have a nice flag, but someoneswiped it. *sigh* If the weather is clement, I'll take the kids out to see some fireworks. We used to set off some in the front yard until most fireworks were made illegal to use . . . plus the community we live in banned the use of them inside the community limits. (Lousy old people and their need to control others since they cannot even control their own bodily functions anymore ... grrr)

Halloween is not really celebrated by us. A throwback to our more religious days, I suppose. Imight set out a carved pumpkin a day or two before. It really depends on the weather. Florida is still usually hot and muggy at that time, and pumpkins dislike heat and moisture ... Vaseline smothered raw edges or not. They tend to wilt and look like shriveled up old-man heads with flaming eyes and drooping mouths. Again, some few school made decoration might be placed up for a week or two.

Thanksgiving sees a little more decorating. Usually in the first few days of November I will put out the few T-day decorations we have: a wicker cornucopia that gets filled with fresh fruit and/or flowers; a ceramic turkey that does double duty as decoration and as a gravy boat on Thanksgiving itself; a double set of salt and pepper shakers ... one shaped like plump, smiling, brown-clad pilgrims, the other a tom turkey and his turkey girlfriend (what are female turkeys called?); and, of course, the inevitable school crafted decorations brought home by the kids.

The day after Thanksgiving the cycle starts all over again as I unlimber whatever tree we are using that year (we have several ... dunno why, really) and we all set about decorating the house from our always growing stash of Christmas totes. Last count was five 30 gallon totes. Now, most of them hold only one or two items, such as a fragile nativity scene, a Christmas carousel, a small chest that has a wooden soldier band that plays carols when opened, and the like. One tote is filled with Christmas themed plushies. We add to that by one or two each year ... usually by me winning them in those rigged claw games with prizes. We use the several Christmas themed tree skirts, table runners, and table cloths as padding for the bulkier, more fragile decorations.

And that brings us back to today.

I'm almost sad too see them go. I always feel more cheerful when the bright, colorful Christmas decorations are out and the tree is glittering merrily. but, it would be weird to keep them up all year. Wouldn't it?

Well, maybe just one of the Christmas bears. >_>

Or, two. ^.^;;


Dawn said...

You should decorate for each Holiday. It's fun and makes one's home a festive and joyful place.

gerry said...

I can make out how fond you are of Christmas and everything revolving around it. I feel just to perk up your mood you could actually add an element of fun, take the initiative to make each holiady a special one by giving your home a festive look and then you'd find you have no reason to crib about the passage of Christmas coz you know you have so many occasions to celebrate....anyways I must say the Christmas tree did look very beautiful. Hope a visit to my blog gives you ideas as to how you can bedeck your home for the coming festival, ie., the St. Patrick's Day.