December 31, 2008

Bye Bye Christmas



I waited a whole twenty-four hours after Christmas officially ended before purging my house of everything remotely resembling a holiday decoration (Cortlen's cotton ball polar bear didn't make the cut). This is a significant improvement from last year, when I hauled the tree out to the curb at 7pm on Christmas Day.

The first year that we were married, my husband asked me why I found it necessary to pack up our gyrating Elvis Presley Santa animatronic before the real St. Nick made it back to the North Pole. I knew he wouldn't understand unless I told him the same horrific story from my childhood that I now tell you:

During my freshman year of college, I came home for Spring Break to find a 9 foot fake Douglas fir in the corner of the living room.

"Why is the Christmas tree still up? I asked the house's seven occupants.

After a long pause and several averted stares, my Dad stepped forward to speak for the group. "What are you talking about?" he asked.

I pointed to the object with the snowman tree skirt.

"Oh that," he said, laughing. "That's not a Christmas tree. It's a decorative plant."

Out of legitimate concern that I inherited the defective gene that unables my family members to distinguish between a plastic ficus tree and a pre-lit evergreen, I instituted a series of checks and balances that includes a rule to which I've dutifully adhered: when Santa departs, so does his forest friend.

How do YOU overcome the difficult challenge of remembering to take your Christmas stuff down before April?

40 comments

HW said...

I would take my decorations down by December 26th if I could. This year we haven't found time - so tonight. Tonight's the night it all gets put away. It really starts driving me crazy as soon as the wrapping paper is thrown away.

I'm pretty festive like that.

Maria said...

December 26th, everything is gone. I think if the tree is up after that it just gives me one more thing to look at that needs to be done. Let's face it, no one needs one more thing on their to do list. I do love it right up until the day after christmas, though...

The Mommy said...

That gene is part of my family, too! When my Grandmother passed away in March (1993) she still had a Christmas decoration hanging behind the back door! Our stuff comes down on New Year's Day. Out with the old, in with the new! I would do it sooner, but my DH seems to like it this way...

Tristan said...

I kept mine up because my cousin came out to visit on Saturday. She wanted it to still feel like Christmas. I was gritting my teeth the entire time. Dec. 26th has always been my take down day.

Anonymous said...

I usually take everything down Christmas Day evening. However, this year I waited until the day after Christmas!

Mom to the King and Captain said...

I'm like you. I took our tree down the day after xmas. I LOVE Christmas but by the 26th, I'm ready for it to be gone b/c Christmas is OVER!

Amanda Panda said...

Usually by Christmas day, my 2 and 4 year old have done an excellent job of making sure every ornament on the tree has been broken or lost, so when the tree is bare, away it goes. As they get older we will probably pick a day.

Carey-Life in the Carpool Lane said...

I think our stuff came down on the 27th this year. The only problem is that we have all the stuff packed away in bins but those are stacked in the hallway ready to head to the attic. Hope the bins aren't still there by April!

Lisa said...

Ha! I just blogged last night about the same phenomenon. Two years ago, my tree came down on Christmas Day. Last year, it was up until New Year's Eve, but only because I was out of town until then. This year, it was gone on the 26th.

Karen said...

I'm with Carey, my decorations and tree come down by the weekend following Christmas at the latest. But when the bins will move from the garage to the attic is debatable.

Heather said...

Four years ago I put the tree up in December and it didn't come down until July. It was fake, it was in a room we didn't use and really, who wants to go to all of that work.

Then, for four years it stayed in the attic, because I figured December until July bought me a few extra years.

This year I put it up, because my son likes it, but I promptly took it down on Sunday. Truth be told, mostly because I needed room to get the GIANT train table out of my living room!! :-)

Gwen said...

We have a no overlapping holidays policy in our house. That means no Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving, and everything has got to be down by New Years. It feels good to have a clean start for the upcoming year.

Janee said...

I'm as bad as you. Everything was down by 9 a.m. on the 26th. It felt so nice to have all the clutter gone and the house back in order. Now if I had a gyrating Elvis Santa then that would have definitely made it for another week.

Sants said...

I used to try to extend the Christmas season to January 6th - the day of epiphany and when the real 12 days of Christmas is supposed to end, but now we take it down after New Years. This year it is really getting on my nerves and I wish that I had taken it down the day after Christmas. When I suggested that to the other seven inhabitants of the house they looked at me like I had just stomped on their gyrating Elvis Santa (which I would leave up all year fo'shur).

Stoker Family said...

I am with you. I always want my decorations up the day after Thanksgiving and then by Christmas night I am so sick of seeing them. I cannot stand listening to Christmas music after Christmas either.

Anonymous said...

We get a real tree each year so I don't put it up until mid-December. I like to keep mine up for New Year's Eve.

Liz said...

Same, same... I love when the holidays arrive, the extra decorations, etc. (however.. this year the 'mean Mom' that I am... we put lights, garland and candy canes on the tree and I was DONE! No more.. didn't even pull out the box of ornaments! HA)

But yes... It all must go quickly. Always beyond ready to get back to normal.. plus the addition of new toys etc makes me crazy with the urge to throw away everything I see. I go organzation crazy!! :)

Janille said...

My aunt used to just throw a sheet over her fake tree and just haul it down to her storage closet - ou tit came the next year, fully assembled, mostly decorated.

I start taking things down the week after Christmas, but usually wait until the kids go back to school to disassemble the tree and put everything back in storage - then I don't have little bodies getting into every bin ad making more work for me. The tree is only half decorated anyway - between kids and cats, the bottom half is practically bare.

Ethington Family said...

I am like you. I need my space and since we have a small home, the second the christmas decor doesn't need to be there- it's gone. My husband laughs at me for it, and says things like, "well, I guess Christmas is over." but I don't think he really minds. Plus my son's birthday is the 26th so we don't need a Christmas themed birthday. Have a great NEW YEAR!!

Carie said...

I'm feeling really lazy. I wanted my tree down the day after Christmas but it didn't happen. I plan to take it down tomorrow (Thursday) because I am off work and don't plan on a hang over. But my son wants it left up, along with the stockings. This will not happen!
I come from a family that put the tree up a week before Christmas and took it down some time in February. So I am actually ahead of schedule.

Melisa said...

My family was 'day after Christmas' too. I still haven't taken my decorations done. Everything is behind with Brad gone though. It is hard to do everything by yourself with a 6,5, and 2 year old "helping."

Sarah said...

By the 26th I want my house back and am tired of all the decorations, so I am usually ready to pull it all down. It helped that our house is on the market this year, so we didn't even get the tree up until the 23rd and had a great excuse to have everything down on the 26th.

Holly said...

I have to remove all decorations a day after Christmas too and it irritates me fully when I pass houses with lights and wreaths up months past December. One year during college I actually got up enough nerve to annonymously place a note on a door in our apt complex that was still sporting a sad looking Christmas wreath in May. No joke...May. The note just kindly reminded them that Christmas was OVER and it was time to move on.

Momlissa said...

I am tyically a by-New-Year's-taker downer, although this year I was itching to remove all traces of Yuletide festivity before then. Alas, I didn't have time. Lat night, my husband was listening to Christmas music and I told him to turn it off before my head exploded. lol

Queen of the Universe said...

Here in S.E. Louisiana it's common to leave the tree up and decorated until Jan. 6th (King's day or Twelfth Night and the official start of the Mardi Gras season.)

April said...

my solution has been to not put up decorations for the past two years. the year before that my tree stayed up until the beginning of may. but it was a small tree and i only left it up to sooth my very fussy infant. as soon as that trick stopped the tree went away. and the fact that it stayed up so long left such a bad taste in my mouth that i've not put it back up. i suspect it will return in 2009 though since the kids are getting to the age where they understand the basics of christmas :-) you know... trees and santa and presents.

My Ice Cream Diary said...

I usually wait till school starts and my hubby is at work, then I dig in and sweatily huff and puff till every last scrap of holidaic evidence is removed. I wait till I'm alone so that my family won't see the glee and jubilation I feel at it finally being OVER.

One year my aunt decided to do an all year Christmas tree with different decoration themes for every month. I stopped going over to her house that year because it gave me the heebies.

rebecca said...

When I was in middle school my mother said that the Christmas candles in her windows in February were "colonial candles" to match her colonial style home. Now I too want Christmas to end on December 26th.

Kristi said...

Lest you think your genes are totally defective, my aunt (mom's sister) had the yard and rooftop decorated BEFORE Halloween when I took college friends home to meet my family. They thought I was taking them to an airport...

My uncle (mom's brother) just left his tree decorated behind a rarely used door all year. When Thanksgiving rolled around, he scooted it out to it's proper place in the living room and plugged it in. Ta-da!

Anonymous said...

I got home from spending the holiday out of town at noon, everything was down that night.

Diane said...

My stuff is coming down tomorrow. I have been itching to take it down, but we had our Christmas family party on the 26th, and I have been too busy/lazy to do it.

Mykidzmakmecraze said...

We make it a tradition... we always take it down on new years day... while the male folk watch that dumb football stuff i pack all the christmas cheer and purge for the new year... might try that... i beat my genetics you can too!!

Eirots said...

Our tree usually comes down New Year's Day. I am slow to take it down only because I'm slow to get it up most years!

We moved the day after Christmas when I was in high school. It was a very strange holiday that year (and again in June when we got into our new house and everything came out of storage!). I think of time every year when trying to decide when to put things away and then I leave it all alone for another day or two and enjoy things on *my* schedule, not someone else's. Now if we left it up to the hubby there would be a Christmas tree on his birthday- which is exactly six months from Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Looks like I'm in the great minority here... But I can't even fathom taking down my tree as early as the 26th! For me, the "Christmas Season" lasts until at least New Year's Day. We don't put up a single decoration until December 1st, but it takes me at least 2 full days to put out all the decorations (um, yes... to say I love Christmas is an understatement ;o) ), so they need to at least last the full month!

It also helps that, this year, we're celebrating Christmas with my dad and stepmom today, so having taken the tree down any earlier would have been tremendously un-festive.

I've always felt a huge letdown when Christmas is over - everything leads up to one day, but then it all seems so empty after (save for the absurd number of new toys the kids have). So, once the Christmas decorations are put away (by early January), out come our snow decorations... I feel like I can get away with that until at least March, lol.

This year, our Christmas was a disaster for extended family reasons, and I was so disappointed that I didn't feel I truly got the chance to celebrate with my kids, I declared it Christmas at our house through the 12 Days, till January 6th. We're doing silly fun things together each day, and it's helping me feel like our Christmas wasn't ruined after all - plus it's easing my disappointment at Christmas suddenly ending on the 25th. I'm hoping to do a 12 Days of Christmas thing every year. :)


Emily

Just The Girl said...

I had everything down and put away the day after Christmas. My hubby says I am a grinch but oh well, thats how I like to do things.

Jana said...

I knew you guys were my friends for a reason!!!

Minou14 said...

One year we had Christmas at my mom's in mid-November because my sister was coming home on leave from Iraq. We had the tree up before Halloween and I think it stayed up until close to New Years. I'm usually so tired after Christmas that it takes a while to find the oomph to deal with wrapping up little ornaments. If I had a spare closet, I would totally store mine fully decorated.

I make an exception for lights. I live in Wisconsin and it's so cold and dreary and grey that I leave them up until March or so. It's more to give me something sparkling to look at than to signify Christmas. It also helps me find the house when it gets dark at 4pm.

MAM said...

If you're Grinchy and/or lazy, as I am, and don't put up any decorations, then you don't have to worry about when you need to take them down.

Jennifer said...

I also am of the opinion that once Christmas is done, it's really done. By early afternoon on the 27th my house looked as if Christmas had never happened. And I liked. A lot. My husband thinks there is something wrong with me but as an adult I have found that the only thing more fun that putting the tree up is taking it down.

Anonymous said...

I just happened upon this post. My in-laws Christmas tree has been up for 12 years - yes, YEARS - straight. Occassionally they will dust the ornaments, but only if they are really dusty. They think themsleves so smart when at Christmas time all they have to do is plug in the lights!