I was talking to one of my co-workers today about some things, and happened to mention that once I got home I would be helping my wife un-trim the Christmas tree and get the ornaments and such put away for the year, in concert with ‘twelfth night’. He said that he’d never heard of that, and rather than go into the whole Epiphany tale, I just said “you’ve heard of the song, “Twelve Days of Christmas, right? This is an offshoot of that..” He agreed in assent that he had (I mean, who hasn’t?) and that he was unaware that anything was attached to that, that had any meaning. I merely smiled and said that it was a tradition both in my family and my wife’s family, and we’ve been keeping it in our marriage over the last 26 years.
On my way home from work this evening, I noticed a lot more Christmas trees out on people’s curbs than I normally have for the last week or so. Certainly, the people next door (who rent, FWIW) have always had theirs on the curb the day after the holiday, as if they needed to get the tree down and out of the house just as soon as the presents have been ripped open and (in the kids’ case) played with. I always thought it an odd thing to destroy the beauty of the holiday by sanitizing your house as soon as possible as if it was a necessity. All the effort goes into decorating, and as soon as you can, get rid of it all? Weird.
My wife and I had been discussing for the past several days about how and when to de-trim the tree. It was already agreed that it needed to be done before tonight, but there’s a process to it all, considering the tree needs to be taken apart, bagged and lugged down to the basement, and the ornaments need to be situated in their respective boxes (although unbeknownst to me, she had purchased a new ornament storage box that needed to be assembled) and then lugged upstairs to the spare bedroom that we use as an ad hoc storage area.
Since she’s retired, she said she would begin doing it today, and then I came home from work I could do all the items that were in the taller range since the tree is 7 feet tall (2.13 m) and she’s at best 5’3″ (1.6 m). True to her word, once I arrived home she had been working diligently since about 2 pm and had the tree pretty much divested of the majority of its decoration. She was only missing a couple of balls (that she’d humorously christened ‘Jack’ and ‘Diane’) and needed a place for some of the larger decorations, and thereupon needed the new storage box mentioned above.
I built the box (pretty straightforward, it only needed to have the inserts put in and situated), brought it into the living room and commenced assisting her taking things off the tree, discussing which box then went into and so on. The stockings were removed from the fireplace mantle, placed into the box they’d come from, and in about 45 minutes the tree was looking pretty bare once more. The lights are my bailiwick since I’m the tall one and don’t require a ladder to put them on.
We’ve been using egg boxes to wind the lights around, it’s convenient and works well, the light strings don’t get tangled while in storage, and they’re easy to find. My wife mentioned that perhaps next year we could get some new lights (LED ones?) and use them as they’re a bit more cost-conscious. I mentioned we have several light sets I purchased a couple of years ago on sale at the local Kmart that were on clearance which we’ve never used. While I’m fairly certain they’re not LED, they’re a bit newer than the ones we have presently and might be a good upgrade. Since we used color lights this year instead of the clear ones in years past, she was pleased with the way that it looked, and said that we might do it again this coming year. We’ll see how it all pans out 11 months from now.
At any rate, the tree is down, stowed away and the ornaments are back upstairs slumbering until Christmas 2020. I do lament over the fact that I don’t have a lot of the ornaments that I grew up with, but I think they got tossed in the great move of 1992, and for that, I’m truly sorry. In the future, perhaps I can move on from that debacle. Still trying.
Twelfth Night is accomplished. On to the doldrums of January. Hurrah?