I love getting all the Christmas stuff out. Looking at each ornament as I unwrap and gingerly hang it, carefully placing each figurine and remembering. It is fun to think about the Christmases past, the people and events that each item signifies. It is incredible how much meaning a porcelain ox, carved wood creche or silver pipe-cleaner star can have. I love Christmas time and the decorations for the memories and feelings that it invokes.
I love putting the Christmas stuff away for a totally different reason--my house feels suddenly lighter and roomier and empty in a very good way. Every surface gets a good dusting. The floors are thoroughly vacuumed. The windows are wiped clean of paper snowflakes and candy cane fingerprints. My candle scents are changed out from Evergreen and Pumpkin Pie to Vanilla and Grapefruit.
The emptiness, the cleanness and the freshness invigorate me for the New Year. Now that all the holiday hustle and bustle is through I will finally have some time to get back to my Independent Study classes. Yep, it's time to put away those sweets and pull out those running shoes. And time to pull out the seed catalogs and think about starting some tomatoes and watermelon.
I always try to get the Christmas stuff down by January 8th--it's my sisters birthday so it's easy to remember--this year we did it on the 9th, Saturday. It's good to have a timeline and the kids know to expect it. They expected it and they helped out a lot. Heath climbed up on the roof to pop off the icicle lights and untangled the strings on the little crabapple tree out front. Kirkham and the girls cleaned off the tree wrapping and carefully boxed each item. Each of them took turns clearing off and dusting pieces from the many nativities throughout the house.
When we were finally done and the boxes were in the garage the girls danced in the corner where the tree 4 hours earlier had stood. Kirkham said, "It feels empty in here." Heath said, "It's nice, isn't it."
Yes it is!