Shattering the Slump

The pleasure of nostalgia is never without its companion, loneliness. ~Isuna Hasekura, Japanese author

I find it sad to take down the decorations after Christmas.

Removing the garlands, twinkly lights, cheerful bows, spectacular tree, and poinsettias brings a certain wistfulness, unlike putting away coats and boots when spring arrives.

It’s long been that way.

When I was little and we’d go south for the holidays, I’d tiptoe into my grandparents’ living room on the morning we were to return home. I’d gently touch the decorated tree (a retro aluminum thing with a multi-colored spinning wheel) and maybe play with the mini-lights on the ceramic tabletop tree.

Winters weren’t so awful then. Spirited family gatherings, relatives I hadn’t seen in months, and warm Mississippi temperatures melted the sorrows away.

Now our family is smaller. Death and distance seem to magnify the cold and darkness, so I do everything I can to hold on to vestiges of light and happiness.

Starting with the decorations.

Traditionally, I wait until Twelfth Night or Epiphany (Jan. 5 or 6) to pack away Christmas. After all, how can we expect the Wise Men to find Baby Jesus if all the lights and stars are extinguished?

Sure, some folks can’t wait to remove it all, even as early as Christmas night. But legend holds that you should wait until the new year so you can free the tree spirits and ensure that vegetation and greenery will thrive in the coming 12 months.

Whatever you do, don’t wait too long to tackle the task. It’s bad luck to leave everything up past Jan. 6; if you fail to remove it, you’ll have to leave it up until next Christmas!

To combat the natural letdown after the presents are opened and the trimmings put away, I immediately bring out decorations for the next big holiday — Mardi Gras.

Purple, green, and gold strands of lights, along with garland, beads, and doubloons extend the festivities and help me look forward to spring.

How do you shatter the slump after the holidays?

27 thoughts on “Shattering the Slump

  1. Funny. I was just on Pinterest looking for some Christmas storage hacks. Cole and I changed up the tree a few years ago and I never really felt that I organized things properly. We don’t have a lot of heirloom ornaments but of course, I do have some that are meaningful and I look for every year. I didn’t know that about the correct time to take the tree down but it does make sense and January is dreary enough so why not start the first week off bright and cheery. My problem is while the Christmas tree and lighted garland are one of my favorite things about Christmas I start to long for rhythm and routine and for my house to be back to normal right after New Year’s Eve so I usually take everything down on New Years Day. I’m late this year….hope the wise men appreciate the extra help. We could use more wise men next year. 😀 I had no idea you were such a fan of decorations! I like that about you! Fat Tuesday here we come. And did you know that it is the Year of The Dog! Happy New Year!!

    • I’m glad we were both “late” this year! I got your clever Christmas canoe, and I truly enjoyed it — your kid is talented, just like his mama! The Year of the Dog? Really? I didn’t know that. Do you think that makes our pups that much more special? Of course, it does! Happy 2018 to you and yours, Kb.

  2. Debbie – I’m with you. We’re taking Christmas decorations down today. We could have taken them down Thursday (or yesterday) snowed in here in birizzy VA (where temps this morning are a balmy 5 degrees F), but the Three Kings need a chance to make it to the crèche. A blessed New Year to you & your loved ones! 🎉🌟🎄🌟🎉

    • Virginia, I’m delighted that I’m not the only one taking down decorations today! It was a heat wave, too — 12 degrees. Well, I just knew I didn’t want to have to look at all that stuff for another solid year, so it was today or bust. At least the sun’s shining, even if it’s colder than the freezer. Happy New Year to you as well!

  3. I usually take my decorations down somewhere between January 1 and 6, depending on how I feel. I usually get to a point where I say, “OK. It’s time,” and down they come. I’ve never felt any kind of melancholy about it, or sadness. I guess by the time I take them down, I’m ready to move into the new year, and I’m thinking more about that than about the season that just passed. I can’t remember ever having a slump — of course, I’m not as housebound or cold as you are, either! That could make a difference.

    • Linda, what’s truly awful is having so much to do and not wanting to put on all the clothes one needs to do it in. Things like grocery shop, fill up the car with gas, run errands, etc. We’re supposed to have a bit of moderation next week, so perhaps that will provide a needed respite. I’ve been spending all morning taking down one season (Christmas) and putting up another (Mardi Gras). It’s been a lot of work, but I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time for sadness — and I’m by nature an optimist so things don’t get me down often!!

  4. I fully empathize and can understand you feeling blue as your family circle narrows and old memories create nostalgia. I think one of the hardest things about aging is facing continual losses. Depression rates skyrocket over the holiday season probably because of this and all the hoopola and unrealistic expectations. Happy. Happy. Joy. Joy often doesn’t come wrapped up in a bow. Hugs and love to you and please know many people feel just like you.

    • Aw, thank you, Cindy. My “slumps” typically last all of about fifteen minutes, thank goodness! I know others suffer from true depression, especially if they’ve lost a dear one during the holidays or are alone, but I know I’m blessed with a sunny nature. And I have so much that needs to be done that I really don’t have time to give in to nostalgia. Thank you for explaining this so well — I imagine it will help more people than you realize!

  5. I’m like you, I hate to take the Christmas decorations down. We usually do it New Years Day. It has been a tradition. Every year we write the names of our family (fur and human) on a glass ball with the date. Our tree is a memorial to those gone so we treat it with dignity.

  6. Our family tradition has always been to put the decorations up on Christmas Eve and take them down on the 5th. But like you our family is smaller now, and older – there are no children in our family. So honestly we don’t make much of the holiday now (as you know, we’re also not religious). Oddly, that means that while I don’t get as excited about Christmas as I used to, I also don’t get the slump afterwards. Swings and roundabouts, eh?

    • Your Christmas season is way shorter than mine, FF! Domer usually helps me put the decorations up the day after Thanksgiving, so after Christmas, I’m kind of ready to take them down again — if it weren’t for the shortened daylight thing! I like the idea of swings and roundabouts, though!

  7. “(a retro aluminum thing with a multi-colored spinning wheel)”

    OMG Debbie, we had one of those trees when I was a kid as well! Ours had all red Christmas balls on it. And I loved the colored spinning wheel and how it turned the tree the different colors. As a kid, it felt almost magical!

    I traditionally take my tree and decorations down on New Year’s Day. And yes, I do get a bit melancholy because I love everything about Christmas and it seems to fly by so fast. I always think, “Now I have wait a whole year again.”

    As I shared on my blog in December, Christmas is both bitter and sweet because of the loss of my parents. However they loved Christmas, so I still feel as happy and excited as I did when I was a kid.

    Hope you’re having a fantastic weekend, my friend!

    • We typically had a real tree when I was a kid, but that aluminum thing of my grandparents was mighty special. I loved watching the colors change from red to yellow to blue to green — you know, I still love colors, ha!

      I’ve shared before that my dad passed away on New Year’s Eve, nine years ago now. Makes the holidays bitter and sweet, as you’ve expressed so well.

      Happy second week of the new year, my friend!

  8. I alwsys hated to take down the tree and decorations too. I missed all the cheerful lights. Plus our winters are so dark and long that I’d probably leave them up till February if I had my way.

    Mardi gras lights sound perfect, a good excuse to keep some colorful lights on in the evening. How long do they stay up?

    • Sounds like me, Dawn. It’s all this drabness and cold that wears on a person after a while (I think it wears on our dogs, too). I keep my Mardi Gras stuff up until Ash Wednesday, the day after Fat Tuesday when everything comes down. Lent, you know. Seems only fitting to have a bare house then, as long as I’m fasting and such, ha!

  9. I feel the same way. I LOVE the lights, the color, the glow, and the overall warmth of the season. I think the days leading up to Christmas feel so hopeful. It feels like everyone around us is filled with the spirit of good will. After it’s all over and done, it sometimes feels like we’re just slipping back into an old, sometimes negative routine.

    I’m always sad to put the Christmas decorations away, but after a few days, I always find myself feeling glad to be back in my normal routine and I can look back on Christmas fondly, and start looking forward to the next year!

    • I wonder if we’d feel any tinges of sadness if the sun was shining brightly and the temperatures were warm enough to get outside? We’ve been enveloped in fog for the past couple of days — talk about dreary!

  10. The only way I have been able to shatter the after the holiday slump, is to leave up decorations until my birthday at the end of February. I find the lights soothing during the long dark winters.

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