Hey Christmas. I Will Take. You. Down.

Christmas is over at my house. It’s official, since the last sparkly red and green piece of man-made material has been removed, put into a marked bin and shipped off to the FitzAnnex, otherwise known as our storage unit down the road.

There is nothing that makes you appreciate your house more than having it kidnapped and held hostage by Santa Claus and the baby Jesus for a month and then released for a big ransom.

I love my Christmas decorations. Some of them were handmade by my Aunt Edna, some are from my childhood, many were gifts, many many more were made by my children, and the rest are things I carefully picked out.

But I’m of the opinion that Christmas should be a little bit tacky. If you can’t put a crocheted snowman and snowgirl on your $4,000 black leather sofa at Christmastime, when can you? (Easter is for light and breezy, Summer is for folksy, Thanksgiving rustic and Martha Stewart, and Christmas tacky.) And over the years I’ve accumulated a large quantity of Christmas kitsch. With the moving-related loss of the box of all of my Christmas dishes (some Spode, some Lennox, all very special to me so we’re not going to dwell on this very long thanks) I have around eight king-sized bins full of Christmas decorations. And they’re almost all overly festive, aka not matching anything else in my house.

Packing away the Christmas decorations is never fun and it’s a lonely job for me, because I can’t find a single solitary member of my family anywhere within a two-block radius when it comes time to take down the decorations.

I save the tree for last. Taking down the tree is entertaining in that it always has an M. Night Shyamalan ending. Which ornament will be left in the tree after you’ve done a 365-scan five times without finding it? And although it’s only been a month since I put the dang thing up, I almost don’t recognize it coming down.

This year, I found three bows shoved between branches and remembered that when I was carrying all the wrapping supplies back to my bedroom closet, I dropped a few bows along the way, and was too lazy to walk them the 100 yards back there, so I just poked them onto the tree. I did the same with a candy cane that someone left at our door two years ago and it became a permanent ornament.

I found some empty hooks on the tree just hanging there. Nothing below, so who knows what happened to the ornaments that were possibly once attached. Maybe someone found some hooks stuck in the carpet and figured they’d be happiest on the tree.

I found a ragged scrap of red fabric. Still don’t have an explanation for that. I felt like I was in a Hardy Boys mystery, searching the woods for signs of the missing girl. “Say, Joe, this scrap of fabric snagged on this tree branch is the same red gingham that Little Sally was wearing when she disappeared!” My tree has become evidence in a crime scene. What happens in my house on Christmas when I go to sleep, anyway?

I found the Irish Step Dancer Girl without legs. I don’t remember hanging her that way, but her legs are nowhere to be found. Way to get a one-way-ticket to the Island of Misfit Toys, Irish Step Dancer Girl.

I’m surprised I didn’t find dirty cereal bowls and used Kleenex. I mean, why walk all the way to the sink or garbage can, when the tree is right there, ready to swallow up whatever you have?

I think a Christmas tree would be a fine place to hide valuables and jewelry.  A thief could be looking right at it, but with all that tinsel and kitsch, he’d never see it. And if he did, maybe he’d take down a few other ornaments with it. It might be worth it, just to have the help.

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