At my neighborhood gym on January 2nd, with no provocation from me, some horrible woman on the next treadmill said, "Well, we've got the Christmas decorations taken down and put away until next year."
She probably bought the tree on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. No, my mistake. She probably chopped it down herself from her very own Christmas tree forest, having sharpened her axe on the family grindstone. She doubtlessly decorated it with the ornaments she hand-crafted with her family on Thanksgiving day, and then to relax, served up hot chocolate with homemade biscuits, topped with the strawberry preserves she put up last summer.
Our household runs a little differently, and "put up" never refers to jam. We got our tree early this year—December 23rd rather than the 24th. We decorated it with the usual Star Trek armada and other like-treasured ornaments. We enjoyed its fresh smell and little lights for several days. Now we are starting the second week in January. But we are back at work and school and, besides, taking it down is not nearly as fun as setting it up. The days go by.
I'm reminded of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas. That's the one where on Christmas Eve, the mean ol' Grinch steals every last Christmas decoration from Whoville in order to thwart the Whos' Christmas joy. Mr. Grinch, where are you when I need you? Please, please, come to my house in mid-January and take away my Christmas decorations.
Actually, maybe the Grinch isn't the right guy for the job, since I don't think we can count on him to chop the tree into 4-foot sections so that the curbside recyclers will take it away. He is also probably not the type to lovingly wrap the breakables in bubble wrap and gently store the boxes in the rafters in the garage.
No, we need instead a character from The Cat in the Hat Comes Back. That's the one where the Cat in the Hat makes a mess, and try as he might to clean it up, he, and Little Cats A through Y, just make it worse until the house is essentially ransacked. Finally, Little Cat Z unleashes the magical "VOOM", which vooms around and cleans up everything.
I have got to get me some of that VOOM. And not just for Christmas decorations, but for the whole year. Thank you, Dr. Seuss. I'll order one online right now.