As a kid of five, I remember two generally unkempt homes in our neighborhood that had gigantic colored holiday lights up all year. In some places the wires sagged away from the roofline, and the same bulbs went unrepaired season after season. My young mind wondered why all the other houses on the block managed to keep up appearances, but not these two?
When I see houses like this now, I'm far less judgy. Perhaps an elderly couple or disabled person lives there with little family nearby to help. Perhaps the family works so much that repairing and taking down lights is beyond what they have time for. Perhaps they ARE just lazy, but even so, those are their choices and none my business!
No matter what is the reason for the season, most people who celebrate ethnic, religious or secular holidays realize there must be a close to it at some point. Otherwise it wouldn't be singled out or special. Just like graduates put away their cap and gown, and brides carefully store their gowns, so too the holiday trimmings and decor need to find their way back into boxes until the next time around.
So when is the right time to take it all down? Here's a rough guide:
Some time after "Isn't our tree BEAUTIFUL?!" . . . . but definitely before "Oh, look at our kindling." Fire hazard aside, you know it's lost it's appeal when you stop watering O Tannenbaum. Might as well send it to it's final resting place before it turns into a crispy brown husk.
And the beauty of an artificial tree is that they're so EASY to dismantle, right? Are you really going to try to call it your President's Day tree?
Some choose to take down their Christmas-specific decor relatively early and leave up the tree and lights til the day after Epiphany, January 6. At this point, the 12 Days of Christmas are officially over. You could stretch it out more, but it would really be hard to top 12 Drummers Drumming. It's okay to let it go - the season will come back in about 11 months.
Chinese New Year Celebrants
Up to February 18, clean or purge thoroughly and literally, symbolically throwing away the old, the icky and the bad. But after February 19 cleaning and purging is no longer good! Keep every speck of dust, or you might accidentally throw out any hopes for good luck!
Usually soon after the 8th day of Hanukkah. In 2014, the last day was on December 24, so put that dreidle away before the kids misplace it again!
Kwanzaa lasts for a week and ends January 1. Soon it will be time to put away the green, red and black, but keep the 7 Principles alive all year!
If Spring doesn't come this year, you must have neglected to toss your greenery before Imbolic on February 2. Tsk tsk! Forget the groundhog, I'm blaming you :)
Fall is waaaay over. The harvest is long past. The horn of plenty is empty of its bounty. On the other hand, if your gourds have sunk in on themselves, you just might be growing penicillin!
Kidding aside, even those hanging on to the last vestiges of holiday cheer are probably getting a little antsy for closure. Whether you do it a little at time or in one fell swoop, you will feel better.
And after the initial shock and surprise of seeing how uncluttered the living room looks, come back here for more tips and tricks on uncluttering everything else!
*Photo Credit: dreamstime.com
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