My wife Beth did most of the holiday decorating in early December. We usually take everything down by the 6th, but since we were on a Florida vacation till the 8th, I‘m “un-decorating“ this week. The chore has been slowed considerably by my runny nose and sinus headache.
Beth’s first husband died of cancer when he was not quite 30. He liked to collect Christmas ornaments. The oldest we have is a Hallmark dated 1976, the year Beth and Jim were married. Later, Beth and I collected them, too. We’ve a 1984 ornament, for instance, that is Santa running with an Olympic torch. I remember we found it in a card store in Salem, Illinois during a weekend drive, the winter before our own wedding. Because our daughter Emily loves cats, our ornaments from the 90s and 00s have a consistent feline theme. We need two trees to hold all these ornaments. Plus, we’ve Christmas knickknacks all around the house.
I’ve been thinking how Christmas decorations enrich everyday life during December and early January. But eventually they have to be packed up. The happiness they had brought now seems ephemeral and--pun intended--ornamental, while their storage seems a huge, sad chore in preparation for a return to the “ol’ grind.” Maybe decorations are an empty source of happiness.
But then I think... I’m putting way too much meaning into this chore! You wouldn’t avoid taking a vacation just because you’re sad when the special time ends (as we were a few days ago as we flew back to subzero Missouri). Even if the decorations demand a lot of work at both ends of the season, Advent-Christmas is still a lovely renewing time with which to start the year.