So, when, exactly, is the proper date to take down the holiday decorations? The day after Christmas? New Year's Day? Even later than that? Listen, I am all about stretching out the holiday cheer but when do I cross the line from being fun and fabulously festive to sad and psychotically slacker?
My colleague's husband, much to her dismay, can't wait to snatch down the tree and all its accoutrements on December 26th. Her hours upon hours of meticulous handiwork assembling the various components gets disassembled in a matter of minutes. Poof. Gone. Finito. The holiday is over. This is a bit too soon for me.
I want to enjoy the fruits of all that hard labor. I am, in fact, sitting by the tree right now writing this column. I have lit a fire in the fireplace (it is one of the two cold days this month) and the dog is at my side. I am still enjoying the glittering shimmer of lights and ornaments twinkling on the towering fire hazard erected in my living room. But there is no doubt, this room truly shines at the holidays and I am soaking up every bit of that magical light.
How long will it stay up this year? This remains to be seen. My household typically hosts a small gathering on New Year's Eve, so we like to have all the ornamentation still intact to ring in the New Year. And, I know I am not alone. I have clients in Sea Pines who have hired me every year for the past 10 years to deck their beach house out for Christmas even though they rarely arrive from before the 28th of December. They still want the tree by the fireplace, the wreaths on the doors, the mantels decorated, and the reindeer on the front porch for their annual family gathering to celebrate the New Year.
Since I do indulge in some New Year's Eve cheer, taking down the tree and its glitterati the next morning is usually not high on the priority list. However, New Year's Day is on a Friday this year, so chances are the stuff will start coming down on Saturday; start being the operative word. If you read my column regularly, you know the holiday decorating process is quite a production around here. This is no easy feat, going up or coming down.
Don't get me wrong, as much as I love the way my home looks decorated for the holidays, I do give a big sigh of relief when the decorations do finally come back down and packed away. My house is small in and already full of decorative objects, so the tree and its supporting embellishments take up what little extra square footage there is. Putting the decorations back up in the attic for another year really makes my life feel much less cluttered. It is almost like starting that New Year's diet and seeing instant results.
So, we usually start with dismantling the tree as it is the biggest task to conquer. The ornaments get organized and packed away, the tree gets placed in the alley for mulching. Once that process is completed, the other stuff seems like a cake walk. The wreaths come off the door, the mantles get stripped of their greenery, the poinsettias get composted. I swear I can sometimes hear the whole house thanking me for giving it some room to breathe.
This year I plan to keep decluttering even after I take down the holiday decorations. I want to take a good look at all the stuff that has accumulated on bookshelves and table tops over the past few years and really streamline things. At least this is what I am thinking. It could be a liberating way to start fresh and bring in the New Year. I will let you know.
Happy New Year everyone!