Friday, January 11, 2013

The Post-Holiday Newton Factor

Every January, I feel nothing but contempt for Sir Isaac Newton. If he hadn't started with all his theories about gravity, I wouldn't be elbow-deep in dozens of boxes and containers of Christmas decorations. But he just had to insist on the whole "what goes up must come down" thing. Now I can't leave my Christmas tree up until July nor sit back and relax on the couch until every item is packed. Thanks a lot, Newton. (But please do give my warm regards to your brother Fig).

Why does putting the holiday decorations away have to be so depressing...other than the obvious fact it's a inordinate amount of work and feels like you just finished putting all the crap up two days ago?  First of all, there's no endearing term for taking down the tree. When you put it up, you get to "trim" it. Cue the music for trimming the tree! Fa la la la la and all that.

Okay, you could still listen to music now, and sure, you can string a different set of words together that start with "f" (and often do), but where's the music specifically designated for yanking down the stockings and disassembling evergreen boughs? Where are Johnny Mathis and Michael Buble when you're winding endless yards of wooden cranberries around a warped piece of corrugated cardboard? Probably hiding from their wives, who've already asked them seven times to lug the holiday storage bins down from the attic.

Without holiday music, the same objects that brought you joy a month ago now bring you anguish. In early December, that Partridge in a Pear Tree ornament your 12 year-old son had painted back in kindergarten made you smile. Now as you encase it in plastic bubble wrap and try in vain to cram it inside a container three sizes too small, you can't help but note how quickly yet another Christmas has passed. The kids are a year older and let's face it:  another year closer to moving out, leading their own independent lives, and forgetting all about you....which, coincidentally, places you one year closer to debilitating illness, despair and death. Happy freakin' new year.

This prompts a bunch of promises to yourself in attempt to prevent this inevitable downward spiral. Next year, I'm not putting so many things up! Next year, I'm going to enjoy the holidays more and stress out less! Next year, I'm going to get all new containers specifically designed to store things in an easy, organized fashion instead of all this chaos.

This often just means you're not only depressed, but a liar, too.

Then there's that whole disorienting brain fog that accompanies wandering around your newly undecorated house. It feels naked and empty. Plus, you'd gotten so used to racing around at 100 MPH on very little sleep before Christmas, you forget what your "normal" non-holiday routine was like. You may ask yourself things like, didn't  I used to have a blog or something? Didn't I used to update that sucker at least once a week?

This may also erroneously cause you to believe that you could take on overly ambitious tasks to fill all the time that was just freed up. DO NOT FALL FOR THIS. You do not actually have any more time now than you did back in pre-holiday October. It's all a time management mirage. (It's also no coincidence HGTV rolls out its new season of home improvement shows around now. But please do not take a sledgehammer to your kitchen cabinets, I beg you).

What you actually have in front of you is an immense amount of deep cleaning and catch up on all that got neglected in the holiday haze. Remember that corner you couldn't really access for six weeks because there was a 7-foot illuminated spruce blocking the way? Well, the cobwebs are waiting for you now. And they're extra disgusting.

Plus, you have to find a home for the 2,673 toys your kids received over the holidays. And now that they're back at school, they'll be assigned multiple long-term winter projects and reports for which they'll need your assistance, and you'll have to resume navigating their sports and activity schedules, remember?

See? More time on your hands = mirage.

Your only true solace is the sense of superiority you'll feel when holiday clean-up is complete. Go ahead and drive around judging all the neighbors who have yet to take their decorations down. I mean, really, what is wrong with these people? It's January for crying out loud.

They don't have to know you secretly envy that they're enjoying the magic of Christmas for a little while longer.

Actual Time Spent Un-Decorating:  48 hours
Real Feel:  1 week
Chance You'll Remember Where You Put All Items Next Christmas:  1 in 5
Number of Xmas Cookies/Chocolates Consumed While Un-Decorating:  274

HOW ABOUT YOU? What's your least favorite part of disassembling Christmas?


  1. No matter how tired I am, I'll always make time for reading your blog, Christie!! Glad you're back from under the packages -- that says something, right? There WERE packages to crawl under and back up from. Happy friggin New Year to you too!
    Linda Beaudry Condrillo

    1. Thanks so much, Linda! It's true we have to keep it all in perspective...and enjoy the craziness while it lasts ;)


One thing I'll always make time for:

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