The process of taking down the Christmas stuff starts with finding the right day to do it. When I used to work, it got more complicated because it typically required a weekend. They never come down before New Year’s Day and they are always gone sometime in that first week.
Putting away the various decorations is the easy part. All of that is done indoors and really doesn’t take a lot of time so it can be done pretty much whenever there is free time. It typically goes first though just because I’d rather have the tree up with nothing else than to take the tree down and leave the other things around. The tree is the center of attention.
Because we have lights outside, the ideal removal day depends on the weather. I’ve had years where they’ve been covered in snow and I had to wait a little longer than I would have liked. In those years, I would tend to turn them off after a time so I wouldn’t look like that house that leaves thing up until March. Today, we had sunny skies and temperatures near freezing but there is some really cold weather coming towards the end of the week so today was the day for the outside lights to come down and get put away.
With the tree, since we get a real tree and it has to go outside, it works best when you have a dry day. Otherwise, the needles that fall off the tree get stuck to the wet pavement and you end up tracking them back into the house for the next several weeks. Tomorrow fits the bill so tonight is the last night for the tree.
I always feel sad about taking it down. When it is all decked out with the lights and ornaments, it just looks so festive and joyful. Then, it ends up tossed out with all the pretty stuff gone and needles falling all over the place. Seems like their should be a better ending for something that brought joy into the house. I guess I take comfort in that it did what it was intended to do and hope that it makes the tree spirit happy.
If we had a plastic tree, I wouldn’t feel the same way. I mean there would still be some sadness about the end to the Christmas season but, with a plastic tree, it would be like putting the other decorations away because it wouldn’t be discarded.
This year, we did something new. When we bought the tree, there were other little desk top trees (probably the tops cut off other trees) and my wife had the idea of putting them in some big pots we use for annuals and stringing lights on them. Even got some ornaments and gold tinsel. Now they are stripped of the lights and ornaments and sit in the pots so I’ve got three trees to be discarded.
We do have places where you can drop off trees to be mulched. I’ve thought about that but it seems like a lot of work and we have woods so I can just leave them off to the side where they are taken away by the lawn crew that comes to do spring clean up. By then, all the needles are brown and I figure whatever spirit was there is long gone. We have sometimes tried to prop them up and used them to hang small bird feeders so they get some additional use and I might try that again.
It is sad but Christmas can’t last forever. I guess it would lose a lot of the magic if it did.