Humanity can be divided into two groups: people who have their holiday decorations stored away by (Jan. 15 as I write this), and people who are wondering if they can re-purpose their Noble fir as a Valentine’s tree.
Note: there is a sub-group of people who took their Christmas decorations down before they finished the dishes on the 25th. We’re not talking about them; they’re genetic mutants and they don’t need or want us.
No matter who you are, there’s no getting around it. Death comes for every man, but first you’re gonna have to take down the Christmas tree.
On the face of it, there’s no reason that de-Christmasing your house should be a difficult chore. After all, it’s just the reverse of the decorating process: pull out the empty boxes, fill them back up, and shove them back into the closet/garage/shed for next year. But we all know that it’s more than that; cleaning up after a month of partying and gift giving and short work weeks is like tidying up after a stag party with a vicious hangover. It has to be done, but no one is looking forward to it.
There are several ways to deal with the task. You could just not put up decorations at all (don’t deny it; if you’re an adult over the age of 50 it has crossed your mind that it’s just too much trouble to decorate because "Christmas is for kids." The minute you thought that, you dismissed it because you knew that not decorating for Christmas meant that you were one step closer to being roommates with Jacob Marley).
Or you could just say, "the hell with it" and leave everything up year-round. Your genetic-mutant neighbors, HOA and cat may have something to say about this choice.
Or you could adopt a new holiday tradition, one that I conveniently just made up: The De-Decorating Co-op. Form a group of local like-minded souls who don't want to abandon all-out Christmas decorating but don’t like having to take it all down.
Here’s how it works:
So it’s some number of days after New Year’s Day, and your Christmas tree and related decorations are still twinkling away at you, mocking you and your procrastination. We'll stipulate that any grace extended by various religious or cultural calendar constructs have come and gone; Boxing Day was weeks ago, the magi have long departed, and your neighbors are starting to give you the side-eye. You would rather have your gums scraped than haul out all the Christmas boxes, dismantle the tree, and move the cars so you can jam it all back into the garage. You’re not worried though, because you have joined your local De-Decorating Co-op, and you’re on the schedule.
The group gathers at your home and gets to work. Chatting happily, drinking wine and noshing on GrubHub appetizers, the group scours your house for holiday towels, backyard decorations and the mistletoe you always forget to take down. In a few short hours, the tree is put away, the ornaments stored and the dead poinsettias are replaced with silk tulips. The next night? Move on to another co-op member’s home, armed with a bottle of wine and charcuterie, and pack the post-holiday blues away in the same box as the Christmas stockings.
Pro tips: Make sure that the wine comes out *after* the fragile, legacy ornaments have been safely stored. Rely heavily on ride-sharing services. Make a rule that no one is allowed to up the ante with home-cooked food, lest the DDCO go the escalating route of toddler birthday parties and pretty soon you’re renting a bounce house and a clown.
Start on Jan. 2, with the people who live next door to the cranky genetic mutants; finish up with the people who either observe the Epiphany as the true end of Christmas or who have a fatal case of dawdling. By the time you’re done, you’ve had several fun parties with people you love and your home is ready for the new year.
Fellow procrastinators: you can thank me later.
Elizabeth Evans is a local mother, wife, daughter, sister, former stay-at-home mom, former work-outside-the-home mom, former work-at-home mom and a human resources consultant.