Daddy Talk: Are the Holidays Over?
The Christmas lights are still up at my house. And even though some of the reason for this is that my family intentionally leaves the decorations up through the entire Christmas and New Year’s season, there’s also a part of me that is simply overwhelmed by the sheer amount of the decorations. I don’t know how we got so many. Boxes upon boxes of them.
When I was growing up, my family did not have decorations that changed from season to season. There was our regular house—what it looked like from January until Thanksgiving. And then there were Christmas decorations. And the Christmas decorations just got added to the regular house until we took them down in January.
After I got married and started noticing my friends’ houses, I became aware that décor can change with all seasons: there are spring decorations, Easter decorations. We have Halloween décor. Also, there are generic fall decorations that are different than Thanksgiving decorations. You can’t have signs that say “Give Thanks” or little figurines of pilgrims adorning the household in October, before Halloween even happens. Everything would be thrown out of sorts. I’m still not sure what décor comes after Christmas and New Year’s. Maybe “Polar Vortex in Mississippi.”
With this revolving door of decorations at my house, I’ve begun developing refined oblique muscles from sitting at the top of the attic stairs and rotating my torso back and forth to hand down the hundreds of boxes. In fact, it was when I sat at the top of the attic stairs a month ago after having moved all of the Christmas boxes out of the attic that I noticed just how empty the attic is without them! I’d wager that we would not even need an attic if not for Christmas.
The other reason that the removal of Christmas decorations seems like such a weighty task is that we’ve somehow collected a Christmas version of everyday stuff in our house. Christmas dishes, throw blankets, hand soap dispensers. I grabbed a butter knife to spread some cream cheese on my bagel recently and noticed that we had a Christmas butter knife. Even Christmas pillow cases. If those pillow cases truly do impart the holiday spirit to me even in my sleep, providing a level of “peace on Earth,” I should just leave them on year-round.
My saving grace may be the fact that my kids are old enough and capable enough at this point to make a true impact on the decorating. This year, we were able to throw a huge box of porch decorations at Isaac, and he simply took care of it. Lydia arranged various sets of trinkets on end tables. I even sent Tanner up on the roof to deal with those infuriating Christmas lights. (See my column from December 2021 for a diatribe concerning Christmas lights.)
But if we don’t want to become a source of embarrassment to the neighbors—I mean, more of an embarrassment than usual—I might as well start getting those boxes down from the attic. At least the attic will be put to good use again. If you drive by and see through the windows all the boxes stacked throughout the house, know that we’re not actually moving. It’s just that I’ve finally gotten around to asking the kids to change out the seasonal decorations. Bring on the “Polar Vortex” décor for January and February.