Sunday, January 13, 2013

Christmas and Holiday Decorations

It’s a new year; a time for reflection and planning the road ahead. For me, it’s also a time to take a
deep breath and renew after the month-plus chaos of Christmas shopping, holiday events, and visits with family and friends. It was challenging, yet fulfilling. Waking up with my family and not having to rush out, movie time (on DVDs and at the theater), binging on sweets, having Christmas dinner with extended family, watching happy faces as presents were opened, and much more, were all part of the spirit of Christmas.

It starts the day after Thanksgiving for many. Those who aren’t seeking the bargain on Black Friday or vegging on the couch are putting up Christmas decorations. The intense people have it done by Sunday. The moderates get it up over a series of weekends and the slackers manage something by the 20th or so. (I don’t recall decorations going up so early when I was a child; or maybe I didn’t pay that much attention to the dates.) Either way, lights trimming the angles of houses, porch railings,  post lamps, trees and bushes entice even the unenthused people to look as they drive through neighborhoods. The inflatables, deer, sleighs, presents, nativities, wreaths, bows, and Santas line the streets creating a barrage ofcolor and illumination. I like it.

I also like when it goes away…  in my yard.
The disassembling begins on December 26 for a few, followed by another group on January 2 - those who consider New Year’s Day the last of the holidays. And then there are those who light up until January 6, the Epiphany, recognizing the 12 days of Christmas. Most years, we shut the lights off on January 2, however this year it was later because we had visitors on the 4th.

“No… you can’t take it down today,” my daughters told me on Tuesday; “We’re having company on Friday and we want them to see the lights.”
“Oh… right,” so I left it up; however, on Sunday we began the transformation back to its everyday look.  I’d had enough of our beautiful “outside” white Christmas tree that wore an array of primary colored lights and our three presents on the porch.

As I traversed the neighborhood today, remnants of Christmas adorn many houses. A few are still in full regalia.   The picture below is the door of one of my besties, taken in late January last year. I think it stayed that way into February.  She has the same decorations now; I’m going to monitor her again this year.

Years ago, I stepped into my sister-in-law’s house and there was the 9 foot, fully decorated tree standing in her family room; also in the month of February—or was it March? She laughed and so did I. She had a young child then—who has time? In my mother-of-young children days, I missed the memo, too—once or twice—and found myself laboriously taking down the tree well into the new year.

It’s not just Christmas that warrants decorations nowadays. Easter has pastel eggs hanging from trees and Halloween is over-the-top with orange light trimmings and skeletons galore. The one in the picture below was in the bestie’s yard. By the way, I took the picture on December 3.

Stuck in the tree and they couldn't it down... so they said

There are lots of reasons for the various time schedules of decorating and un-decorating, I suppose. A house not far from mine is a candidate for the Tacky Lights Tour every year. The family has to begin the process right away. It appears to be worth their effort because people in cars stop to gaze at the finished product. Somehow, they get it all down relatively fast, unlike others who still have Santa on the front lawn.
Another friend told me that her husband has to insist they take their decorations down; otherwise, she’d leave it up indefinitely.  She says it’s pretty and it makes her feel good, which is perfectly understandable since she’s an Interior Designer.

What is it about “the holidays?” Whether you celebrate or not, everyone is impacted in some way by the decorations, among other things. Everyone has an opinion.
What’s yours?


Barb said...

Hello Anita, I've missed you. (Though I took a long break myself.) I was formerly a Christmas decorator of some excellence but no more. I have an extensive Santa collection boxed away in our storage area - I should really give them to the youngsters in my family who might enjoy unboxing them for display. Outside my door in Breckenridge, I stand the antique sled, and this year I bought a new wreath for it. That stays until late winter when I decide I want spring to arrive. That's about it - no tree, no boxes of decorations, no lights. I enjoy everyone else's, but can't motivate myself to put them out and take them down again. Sorry that I sound like the Grinch! Happy 2013!

Barb said...

Yippee - I am the first to comment!

Rebecca S. said...

We always have a real tree, so it comes down around Epiphany, as do some of the other decorations in the house. Tomorrow, we will take down the outside lights and the rest of the decorations, like my daughter's village on the mantle and the manger scene. The wreath on the door will stay until February. It's pretty and doesn't get in the way, take up space needed for something else or require plugging in and unplugging. I enjoy it when people leave their lights up through Feb, though. It cheers me up when I go for a walk in the evening.

Unknown said...

My december came and went in blur. Before too long, it was over. I didn't feel up to decorating so for the very first year, I didn't. I like your lighted presents. I would want to leave those up all year. happy new year to you.

Unknown said...

My december came and went in blur. Before too long, it was over. I didn't feel up to decorating so for the very first year, I didn't. I like your lighted presents. I would want to leave those up all year. happy new year to you.

Hilary said...

I tend to do a tree every two or three years. There wasn't one this year because I wasn't home much. Frank's tree tends to go up a day or two before Christmas and stay up a very long time. It's still up even though his target take down day of Ukrainian Christmas has long passed. Maybe I should play the UnChristmas Fairy and undo it while he sleeps.

photowannabe said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving the nice comment, it's appreciated.
I am always sad when the neighborhood becomes dull and darker after all the pretties are gone.
I have to admit as an older Grandma with just Hubby and I at home, it does feel good to get the house back to "normal" again.
It is a lot of work but I do love Christmas and all its finery.

Linda Hensley said...

I figure if I don't put up decorations, I don't have to take them down. I also justify no Christmas lights by saying I'm conserving energy :)

Abby said...

We typically put our decorations UP much later than "The Jones'". Then they come down in waves. The tree was down first, because we get live ones that need to go back outside. Most of it's put away now. I admit that we have stockings hung and lights on the windows. The paper snowflakes? I think they've been there since 2007.

Shelly said...

You are right in that each holiday now seems to have its own more elaborate season of decorating. I enjoy looking at the Christmas decorations, but am happy to get them down. My older daughter's wedding was right after Christmas this year, and that put me way behind my schedule for getting things down. One pair of elderly spinsters down here leave elaborate decoration up, outside and inside, throughout the year. They host school tours, etc.

Stephanie said...

Full confession. I just finally got mine down last week!!

Unknown said...

I leave ours up until January 1st. By then, Im ready to take it down since we put it up on Thanksgiving!

Unknown said...

January 1st is when we take the tree down and I'm ready by then since its been up since Thanksgiving. lol

InSeason Mom Cynthia said...

Taking the tree down before January 1st is a tradition that my mama followed and expects me to follow. I listen to mama :) I love the holidays but I like when things get back to normal, too.

Auntie sezzzzzz... said...

-chuckle- You have more on-the-spot Dear Readers! Where as I fall into the Jan.6 onward category. ,-)

Thank you for saying I could be a talk host. I do talk about many topics. But also know that I am way too opinionated, to be a good talk show host.


Jenny said...

Such true observations!

We were at our daughters last night...I was surprised to see how many Christmas lights still glowed in the neighborhood.

Maybe it's a beacon of something sparkly and bright in a world of confusion?

betty-NZ said...

With kids, it's harder to get things put away, but after they are gone, it is just a matter of taking the time, usually around New Year's.

Claire Hegarty B said...

I put tree and decorations up as soon as possible when December arrived. I don't take them Dow again until January

Claire Hegarty B said...

6th. I just realised today that I still have Christmas candles in the windows!

Jen said...

I'm a 12 Days of Christmas person. There was a year when my daughter was young that I had to urgently take the tree down because the next day was going to be Easter...

myletterstoemily said...

one year, after we had been building a
house for FOUR years, i said (foolishly),
"if i have to decorate this house for
Christmas, then i'm not taking them

boy, did i have to eat my words. we
didn't move until june! :)