For many people, taking down the Christmas tree and all the decorations is tough. All that shiny, glittery manifestation of cheer and glad tidings can really make us feel warm inside and help us to slow down and savor our surroundings. When we pack it all away, some people get the ‘blues’. Add seasonal affective disorder and many dread and/or avoid packing away Christmas.
“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”– Charles Dickens in “A Christmas Carol”
For me, I thoroughly enjoy setting it all up a week or so after Thanksgiving. I get my tree around December 5th, start playing my favorite Christmas movies, order in some Thai or Chinese take-out and spend a joyful evening spewing Christmas all over my house. Each day of the season, I make an effort to sit before the glow of the tree with a cup of tea and reflect on past Christmases or visit with friends and family, in person or on the phone. I love every moment of it, but when the final few days of December hit, I am ready to put it all away and set up my place for a cozy winter (I sort of hygge things up but that’ll be another post).
I get excited about the new year and the new adventures it will bring. I take time to write down a year-in-review of sorts listing out my victories and lessons learned from the prior year. For me, it is a meditative action and it helps me appreciate all I have (material and not). While I never got blue about ‘de-decorating’ I used to dread it because it wasn’t as fun as setting it all up. To change my experience, I decided to make it a celebration of sorts and here is how I do that:
- Order in yummy finger food or make something you can eat hot, warm, or cold. This year, I laid out a cheese platter and made a fruit dip and cubed up the apples and pears I received in a Christmas Gift basket (a great way to finish a seasonal gift). If you have kids, you can consider doing indoor toasted marshmallows as a post-activity treat.
- Pour your favorite beverage. It may be wine, or seasonally appropriate hot chocolate – don’t forget the mini marshmallows!
- Assemble all the containers, tissue paper and decoration storage bins. Having everything staged to allow for fast removal and stowage of ornaments, stockings, advent wreaths, etc. take away the sting of putting it all away.
- Put on your favorite music or movies. You can fire up motivational podcasts, if that’s your thing. Anything to keep your mindset positive and joyful. This year I watched 80s movies (Terminator, Vision Quest, Raiders of the Lost Ark). Whatever you choose, it must be something that makes you happy. Save the gritty crime dramas or true crime binge for another time.
- Invite a friend(s) over to keep you company. Maybe a friend/family member you weren’t able to see during the Christmas rush makes the task of ‘de-decorating’ a lot more enjoyable and they don’t even have to help, just sitting and chatting lightens the load.
- Give everything a good clean. When the tree is down and everything is packed away, be sure to give everything a good dusting, sweeping, vacuum, mopping. Sure, you’ll be picking evergreen needles out of your socks/carpet/dog until NEXT Christmas, but at least give it a try. Never underestimate the psychological benefits of a clean place.
- Spruce up your “regular” décor. I am not advocating spending anything on this, just the opposite. Once your place is back to its pre-Christmas arrangement try moving things around. If you have a toss pillow(s) in the bedroom, swap them with the pillows on the sofa. Move a cozy throw blanket from the foot of your bed to the arm of a chair. Group 3 or more candles together for some ambiance on the mantle, sans Christmas stockings. If you do buy something, I can recommend inexpensive fairy lights. You can get them with a timer and tiny switch and the add a bit of magic and warmth anywhere you place them.
There you have it! 7 quick tips to brighten the act of packing away Christmas. Did I miss anything? Do you have a tradition for ‘de-decorating’? Let me know in the comments.
Wishing you a calm holiday season and a healthy and prosperous New Year! Thanks for stopping by!!