6 January 2016

Time to de-Christmas the house. Booooooo!

Christmas was over two weeks ago and the Polkaroo household still looks like we await St. Nick's arrival. I hate the thought of putting away all my decorations for another year, but realise if I don't act soon, it is going to seem like I am just lazy instead of festive.

It's drier than Nevada by now
Growing up, my mom always took down everything by New Year's day so we could have a fresh start. I really think it was because there were 4 kids in my house going back to school and my saint of a mother needed her house to resemble some kind of normal before the tornado of a new semester took over the place.
We grumbled and half heartedly helped take down our growing collection of Christmas baubles and went back to the dreary days of winter. I always thought I wanted to leave the decorations up longer to keep that happy spirit alive, but in reality, I was just putting off stuff that had to be done.
Putting aside my aversion to taking down what I put up only a month and a half ago, I begin the process of hauling the 30+ boxes of regular household knickknacks to replace the assorted holiday gee-gaws. Trudging up and down the stairs, I start to envision a future where we do a minimalist Christmas. Maybe a bauble or two and that would suffice.
Why do we need so many damn decorations?
We don't even have kids.
 This is ridiculous.
I really hate taking down my Christmas stuff.
When I start to wrap the breakables, it brings a smile to my face as I put away certain ones because they mean something a little more. A musical Santa Mom and Dad fixed for Grampa.
It still plays music too
 Mrs. Polkaroo's ever expanding Christmas village that is starting outgrow its spot.
The picture doesn't do it justice, it is growing quickly.
These things remind me of why I decorate for this holiday only. The act of doing it reminds me of the excitement of childhood and who wouldn't want to relive Christmas Eve and morning as a kid one more time. When I take it down, it helps to put those feelings away until next year when I get to do it again.
New this year!
The process of re-decorating and hanging our assorted picture frames, paintings and wall ornaments is a nice way to consider what we have and if it really is necessary. I know no one needs any of the stuff we have, but they contain memories and feelings from what they mean to each of us. I am forever deciding if this piece or that has had it time with us and needs a new home. It usually ends up that I donate some stuff to charity and make room for new memories that we will acquire in 2016.
I have always been the one who decorates, it is just something I enjoy and Kat doesn't seem to mind. I have made all the picture frames in our house (and there are a plethora of them) full of pics from our few and precious trips to the Caribbean.

Fun times with my best friend.
Nothing is better than as you trudge down the stairs mid-January than seeing the fun times we've had on the beaches of Jamaica or Cuba and the hope that we may do it again. 
Almost twelve years.

Wedding pictures of course are a fixture as well, not forgetting that youthful snap from our engagement.
Oh, the matching blues.

As the house slowly returns to normal, it cannot help but look barren. Nothing can generate the excitement and colour that Christmas does, so you learn to cope. I have no doubt that part of my "blahs" of February are caused by the sharp contrast between the sparkling promise of Christmas and the regular everyday gray of our lives.
This year I approach it from a much better place and look forward to doing a little redesigning of the main floor with maybe some classy beer bottles sneaking their way onto our built-in bookcases in the dining room. Just one or four, I promise.
So much room for my beer collection!
I have long felt the depression of this time of year, but it was only recently that I began to understand it and fight back. It takes a concerted effort and the support of my lovely wife, who never gives in to the darkest days I have, to remain on an even keel. I have a much better grip on what causes my sadness and with that in hand, I am confident taking away my Christmas until next November will not put me in a funk.
Plus this year has so much to look forward to. I am off to visit some new places tomorrow and despite the chill in the air, we have committed to start our walking regimen. New shoes from the store always made me feel like I could run faster as a kid and I still get a rush when I lace up my new high tops.
But for now it is the careful wrapping of breakables, the packing of the boxes and the unhanging of funny snowmen wreaths.
These guys always make me laugh.
I put them away not with sadness, but with a happiness that comes from recognizing what a wonderful life I have and how much joy this past season brought to me. I look forward to the chilly walks and explorations the rest of winter will bring and am excited for the warming of Spring and the sun shining on my face as I work in the gardens.
Bye-bye penguins, snowmen and Santa. You will be missed and I look forward to seeing you all again as soon as the clock turns on November 12th, 2016.

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