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?