Another year over

The holiday season has come and gone, and with it we also close the books on 2019. Each new year is one filled with promise for many people, while for others it heralds a darker period of time filled with uncertainty and the general malaise that comes with the winter blues. 


I think I fall somewhere in the middle. While I am filled with the optimism of a new year rife with opportunities, I sometimes struggle with the melancholy that comes at the end of each holiday season. 

Taking down the holiday decorations is, without question, my least favorite activity of all the things I have to do. Honestly, I think I would rather have a root canal than take down the Christmas tree and pack away the decorations.

Perhaps it is because growing up as a child, my parents would almost immediately begin taking things down — almost as soon as the presents were all finally opened. I remember some years having to beg them to leave the tree up “just a little longer,” which usually translated to just an extra day or two.

In our home, we like to leave the tree up until New Year’s Day. It helps brighten what is otherwise a dreary time of year, when you go to work and come home in the dark.

It’s the same every year. My kids are pretty good at helping with digging out the decorations and putting up the tree. We enjoy figuring out which decorations look the best for the front of the tree, in prime viewing area, and this year, we expanded one corner of our home into one of those “tiny villages” with light-up houses and a ceramic tree.

This year, we added little buildings that hold some sort of connection for each of us. For my wife, we have a schoolhouse, while there is a fire station for me (since my father served as a firefighter for more than 40 years) and a toy store for one of our daughters. We still need to find one more building, a bookstore or library, for my oldest daughter for next year.

But the same enthusiasm is nowhere to be found when it comes time to pack all this stuff up. That essentially leaves me to the meticulous process of carefully removing each ornament from the tree, finding the proper box that it came in, and painstakingly removing the lights so that they are not a garbled jumble of wires next season.

And once that process is complete, it typically takes me at least a few weeks before the house no longer feels quite so empty. Fortunately there are plenty of other activities that can take my mind off those blahs, like snowblowing and high school basketball games to get me through the rest of the winter doldrums.

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