Taking down the Christmas tree sucks. It's such a desolate, lonely job. We tend to put it off. Last year, our upstairs tree stayed up nearly until Easter. We joked most sacrilegiously that it was a birth through death thing, and weren't we holier than thou? We weren't fooling anybody.
Worse, the downstairs tree came down as a Mother's Day gift, if I remember even close to correctly. Eric had never taken the tree down before and didn't know where to put anything. I didn't care anymore and just wanted it gone. I was ready to light a torch. The torch is the ultimate frustration threat, and I think my family is a little afraid of me on a good day, but on a "torch" day, they scurry. Anyway, I told him to just put stuff in boxes and put them in the furnace room and that would do. And it did. It wasn't ideal, but it was adequate.
So, this year, I am pleased to say our basement tree was down before Epiphany. The upstairs tree was stripped this evening. I even put all of what we call our special ornaments in a separate box and included a sheet that said what they all were.
Every year, we buy an ornament as our special ornament. Some years, we've chosen very plain ones. Some years, they've been a little more flamboyant. This year's wasn't really a Christmas ornament, but a large, glass ornament sort of like a saggy, squashed witch ball that you might find hanging outdoors or in someone's well-lit window. It's very heavy, and our poor tree sagged under its weight.
We label each special ornament with the year. We've only broken one. We hang its remnants up there. It was one of those that you clip on the tree. It was three balloons. The balloons were glass, and Kayleigh got a little carried away in her excitement one year, and one of them broke. Another broke a few years after that, so we're down to two wires and one balloon.
We chose the balloons because Kayleigh was heavy into "The Red Balloon" when she was little. When we played it on TV, she would pretend to be Pascal. At the park, we played The Red Balloon. Anywhere there was something to climb, she climbed, grabbed a red balloon, and slid back down, just as Pascal did. I had to tell her Little Kissy (OK, chide away, but at least it's some evidence that I actually do have two X chromosomes.) and the Red Balloon stories before she would go to sleep at night. Can we say obsessive? Now I have to tell them to Kelsey, who is much fussier about the plot. After 12 years of red balloon stories, I think I've tapped my best material.
It's nice to look at each year's ornament as I put it on the tree every Christmas. Putting them away is always kind of sad. I suppose that's why we put it off. But someday, when we're old and living in a little apartment with a table tree, we'll be able to fill that tiny tree with a memory from every year we've been together. The booties from the year I was pregnant with Kayleigh, the icicle that always reminded me of a droopy testicle from the year before we were married (no symbolism implied), the gold paper mache house from the year we moved here, and so many others.
Choosing our special ornament is something I look forward to every Christmas. Putting it all away isn't something I look forward to, but having my house back is. It will be nice to walk through my living room instead of around cheery obstacles. And it's done before Easter and Mother's Day this time.