When I was growing up, New Year’s Day was special. It was a day we didn’t have to go to school or do anything. My siblings and I would spend all morning watching the Rose Parade on tv. And it was the day we dragged our very dead Christmas tree to the curb, leaving a dense trail of tinsel and pine needles throughout our home and yard.
This year my kids had the day off school, but I still had a laundry list of chores to do. The parade wasn’t held, apparently because New Year’s Day fell on a Sunday. And we didn’t drag our Christmas tree to the curb because it wasn’t actually dead.
It’s now Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the second holiday of the new year, and that damn tree is still perched inside.
This Christmas we broke down and bought an artificial tree. I wrote a blog about it a few weeks ago and mentioned the long term cost savings, the eco-friendly advantage, and how our heavy ornaments would not be dropping to the floor as the branches became more brittle.
There turned out to be even more perks that I hadn’t thought of. There’s a large corner of the living room I haven’t had to sweep because there’s a tree covering the floor. Under the tree is a logical place to store presents that still need to be put away. And we’ve been able to keep our multicolored Christmas tree lights twinkling each night without fear of the 120 degree Fahrenheit bulbs igniting an indoor brush fire.
Without the immediate need to dash for a fire extinguisher, I’ve been putting off de-decorating the house. But like fish and houseguests, the tree has overstayed its welcome.
It’s not just the tree. It’s also the four dozen Christmas decorations scattered throughout the bookshelves and tabletops that need to be boxed up. They’re squeezing out the space of my naked pregnancy pictures (tastefully done – mostly focused on my balance ball-sized belly) and photos of my girls when they had missing teeth. There’s really no good reason for stocking hangers to be sitting idly by more than three weeks after the fat man came down our nonexistent chimney (it apparently toppled down in the Northridge earthquake a decade before we bought our house. I’m jealous every time I smell a fireplace).
We also have a growing collection of Christmas-themed stuffed animals, courtesy of my mother-in-law who seems to think that her only grandson can’t get enough of them. There’s Mickey and Minnie with Santa hats, a plethora of penguins, red ribboned reindeer, snowmen with scarves, and miscellaneous finger puppets which thankfully don’t speak on their own. Last year I stored them all in a kitchen trash bag, but the collection has grown so this year I’m going to need a full-sized outdoor trash bag – the kind that boasts about being 4 ml. thick, which is almost wide enough to measure with a ruler. I think I’m going to have to reverse vacuum the air out so all those winter animals fit.
I’m a little bummed that the tree is still up and I still haven’t bought a pine-scented candle from my friend Paula who sells PartyLites. That was the first thing I had planned to do when we bought the fake tree. The good news is I still have 11 months until next Christmas. I’ll have to ask if there’s also a fireplace-scented candle or if I should just haul our outdoor barbeque into the living room for the month of December.
I need about half a day to pack everything back up into their green and red bins, and since I don’t have any work today, I thought now might be the perfect time.
Or maybe I’ll go see a movie instead.
The next holiday is Valentine’s Day. I can do it then… although I guess that wouldn’t be very romantic. President’s Day? Easter?
If I can just postpone it until July 4th, maybe I can tell people that I’m decorating for Christmas early. After all, isn’t that about the time stores start advertising those artificial Christmas trees?