The Christmas tree has been mocking me as I pass it daily in the living room, even starting to give off a strong evergreen smell in recent days, which seems weird. Anyway, it’s my day off, and so we took some time over lunch to start the job of putting away ornaments and lights – we’ll finish another day – which is akin to taking a band-aid off slowly.
Josh missed it – no doubt a result of his evil plan to get back to college before he had to do his part. Chip off the old block, I guess. One year Diane did it all on her own. That wasn’t good. Christmas tree untrimming should be a team sport.
And the task wasn’t so bad, I suppose. I got some wood together this morning and the fireplace was going strong. Diane actually read to us as we worked. The girls are home-schooled and she reads to them most every lunch. Yes, even juniors in high school like someone reading to them. Maybe even 49 year olds like that.
Before the job started, I was returning a faulty gift at Walgreens and ran into a friend who said she appreciated our family Christmas traditions, which I guess I have mentioned in a sermon sometime…like the family slumber party around the Christmas tree one night each season. Yeah, well, we didn’t check that one off or a number of others this year. Blame it on the new college kid, or Diane’s relatively new job at the library, or the girls in basketball for the first time, or 1,001 other things. Busy, I guess. But we did cut down the tree together and enjoy a family trimming party.
Putting up the Christmas tree with eggnog and Bing Crosby crooning is tradition. Taking it down is work…joy in reverse.
The kids all have their own ornaments that we (well, I guess Diane actually) has picked out for them through the years. I was tasked with putting Josh’s away. Humpty-dumpty was a gift around age 2 and he has been missing a leg for years, which seems somewhat fitting, but the appendage showed up under the tree today in a post-Christmas miracle. Apparently you can put Humpty together again.
That was the good news.
On the bad news front, there was the obligatory breakage. Astro the wonder dog fell to his death on our hard wood floors. There was brief mourning – Diane had grown up with the pup on her family Christmas tree. So she looked him up on eBay to consider a replacement. Someone had just sold the same Astro ornament for $75. Guess that’s not gonna happen. Diane wondered if she wanted Astro back for the memories…or the cash?
This is the hardest time of the year, when the light is brief and the darkness, long. Christmas is packed away. Bleak midwinter stretches ahead. Traditions are replaced by work.
But with hope I remember the days are getting longer. Before too long, Punxsutawney Phil will be prophesying the end of winter. And the joy of Christmas? Well, by my count, it’s only 344 days away.
Maybe we should leave the tree up this year. It does smell nice.