Friday, January 9, 2015

Why It's Still Christmas at My House

Our family waits longer than anyone else we know to turn off our Christmas lights, and put away the holiday decorations.  I think I have figured out why.




It is well into the second week of January, and our Christmas tree is still up. Not just still decorated, but aglow with colorful twinkles. Our outside Christmas lights are still on, stockings rehung and we haven't put away a single holiday decoration. Why do we delay?

Our neighbors typically remove any signs of the holiday on New Year's Day, or at least by the weekend following January 1st. Rarely, a family will keep their home decorated until Epiphany (Three Kings Day, January 6th). Our house is usually the only one still illuminating the hillside in late January. We seem to rebel against the social norm in our neighborhood.

There may actually be other people who think like we do, however.  I realized this when I read an article by Roz Warren, When Should Christmas Lights Come Down.  

But why?
… Is it because we are
so slow to decorate?
Typically, we are as tardy preparing for the holiday as we are dismantling it. We usually buy a forest service tree permit and cut a tree no sooner than the last weekend before Christmas. Failing to accomplish that, we purchase a much bigger one than we could typically justify, from a tree lot during their last-minute discount sale. 

I have always assumed that our late-December decorating efforts are the reason for our tardy dismantle. The last two years have disproved that theory, however. Being completely ready for the holiday by mid-December did nothing to prompt us to undecorated the house any earlier.

… Maybe it is because dismantling is a daunting chore?
Our last minute holiday preparations could be the result of busy lives - or procrastination. Are we (gulp) just lazy about putting it all away? A lot of work is involved to get everything taken down, back into many bins, and stacked on the shelves. While I admit there is an element of dread involved with starting the task, I really don't believe that fully explains our mid-January "decked halls."

Maybe it's because of the reason that we do any decorating at all!
The real reason for our delay, I think, is simply that we love how the decorations look, and how our house feels when it is decorated. In the dead of winter, the warm glow of the lights strung on the tree, railings and mantels is comforting. The smell of pine, and a memory associated with each and every ornament evokes feelings of love and family. We work so hard to make it all beautiful; I think we just find it painful to undo it all.



Even though our remarkable fir tree has shed no pine needles, I will no longer turn on the tree lights, because of the risk of fire.  This weekend, the craving for simplified surroundings will motivate me to take down all of the inside decorations. One evening soon, it just won't feel right to have the outside lights still lit. Until then, our outdoor decorations will illuminate the night and our hearts. 

What is the latest you have ever taken down your tree and holiday decorations?

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19 comments :

  1. I love that you keep your decorations up! It looks so warm and inviting. That said, in my own house, the decorations start feeling like clutter and I must take them down right after Christmas. Weird, huh?

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    1. Some years, mine begin to feel like clutter too, but this year I still really have been enjoying them.

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  2. Susan,
    I'm with you. My tree is still decorated and now that I finally converted to LED lights, I still turn my lights on in the evening. We cut a live tree every year and I leave it up as long as I possibly can. We had a tree once that lasted until the very last week of December! The only thing I regretted was not knowing what species it was, so I could return to the same kind in future years.

    I've written a few posts about this very subject... Like you, I leave the decorations of for numerous reasons. 1) I am able to enjoy the tree more after the holidays are over and all the comings and going have stopped. 2) I love the twinkling lights in contrast to the dark winter days/nights. 3) I love the smell. 4) It is a constant reminder of a season that brings out the best in people. 5) I'm Santa's #1 fan and I want to keep his spirit around as long as I possibly can.

    Thanks for being living proof that I'm not the only one who keeps Christmas going long after December 25!

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    1. I would suspect, Annah Elizabeth, that your tree that lasted so long might have been a Fraser Fir. I have really been impressed by the ones I have had. Glad to hear there is someone else out there who thinks like me!

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    2. Thanks for the species tip! This year we first cut down a Norway Spruce, unaware that they only last about a week... What a disaster! My tree was literally raining needles! We replaced it with a Balsam Fir that seems to be holding up nicely. :) Next year I'll look for the Frasier...

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  3. I'm really happy that my essay helped inspire this lovely post!

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    1. Thanks for commenting @RozWarren. I loved your post!

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  4. Our stuff usually comes down on boxing day although I have been known on a rare occasion to leave it all up until New Years Day.

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    1. Boxing day would be much too soon for me - especially the years past when we have only put the tree up on the 22nd! Way too much work to enjoy just for a short time!

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  5. The past few years we have put our decorations up the weekend before Thanksgiving since we have traveled over the holiday. Usually we get them down the weekend after New Year's. Even though it's nice to get everything back in order, the house always looks so bare. I love that yours are still up! A few people in our neighborhood still have their lights on and I appreciate it. I saw someone on Instagram who was taking their decorations down the DAY after Christmas with the tag "when it's over, it's over" and I thought WOW, that's someone who takes the holiday very literally!

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    1. Sadly, the indoor dismantling process has begun. My house feels "lighter" but less cosy.

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  6. I will take the last of my very minimalist decorations (a string of lights in the window) down today. I am a firm believer in personalising the celebration. When to decorate, how to decorate, when to dismantle. Go with what your heart tells you to do.

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    1. Perfect advice for all things in life!

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  7. I love your decorations and don't blame you for leaving them up a bit longer. Your home looks lovely!

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    1. Thanks Carol - what a nice compliment. Many of our decorations have been given to us over the years, so I really do treasure them.

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  8. Your tree is gorgeous and wow what a view! I left all of my decorations up the whole month of January when we lived in Montana. It made me happy!

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    1. Thanks Jennifer! It must be something about the cold short days of winter in Montana that makes us wait!

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  9. Christmas simply doesn't last long enough for me. I'd love to leave things up as long as I possibly could. Sometimes I even have to dust them . ..

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  10. You know I used to have the same routine every year where I would decorate the weekend after Thanksgiving and take down the tree the day after Christmas. This was my thing for many, many years. As I've gotten older now I usually get everything up the weekend before Thanksgiving and then take it down on New Year's. It starts to get on my nerves any longer than that!

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