This Is When You Should Take Down Your Christmas Decorations
Okay. Christmas is over.
There’s still half a giant ham and some shrivelled baked parsnips and two bottles of flat soda water in the fridge, but December 25 is definitely in the past. It’s time to move on.
You know what I’m talking about.
No, not Easter eggs, silly -- they won’t be in the shops until at least mid-Jan.
I’m talking about taking down your Christmas decorations.
Who just sighed reading that sentence? I know, sorry. It’s a horrible and boring and, in some cases, quite tricky job. It’s the opposite of anticipatory. Like getting your wedding dress dry cleaned or scraping the burnt cheese off your jaffle iron.
Right now you’re probably sitting (but kind of lying) on the couch, unwrapping another Lindt ball (even though only the white chocolate ones are left), and you absolutely DON’T WANT TO PACK UP ANYTHING AND OH WHY DID YOU PUT UP SO MANY PIECES OF TINSEL AND GLITTER-COVERED BAUBLES DIDN’T YOU LEARN ANYTHING FROM LAST YEAR?
What you’re thinking, as you stare at your oversized pretend fir tree covered in colour-coordinated shiny trash, is: When do I really have to pack this shit away?
There are a few different schools of thought on this topic. If you’re a traditionalist and still believe Christmas has something to do with Christianity, there’s a strict 12-days-after-Christmas rule -- something to do the Three Wise Men and baby Jesus. If you like being neat and organised, you might choose January 1st -- new year, tidy house. If you’re an expert procrastinator (or spend the rest of summer “down the beach”), you might not box up the baubles until March.
Personally, I prefer to NOT PUT UP ANY DECORATIONS IN THE FIRST PLACE.
I’m your classic Grinch. I dislike everything about Christmas. Four kinds of roast meat, presents that you have to re-gift because they’re a floral toiletries bag, cards from real estate agents, songs about winter, Santa. I find the whole thing weird.
I allow a small amount of Christmas cheer -- only because I’ve got two kids and, you know, don’t ruin the magic, blah blah -- but seriously, keep it minimal please. See that house with no wreath on the door and no visible tree and no carols blaring? That’s my place. A couple of years ago the council erected an enormous fake Christmas tree in the main street of my regional city, and a week later vandals set it on fire. I wasn’t sad.
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But -- and this is a secret, so keep it on the down-low -- there is one thing I kind of like about the festive season: Christmas lights.
I don’t mean your average line-of-LEDs-along-the-gutter decorations. No. I mean INSANE ELECTRICITY BILL BLOW YOUR FUSES RAINBOW SPECTACULARS.
In mid-December I take my kids on a drive to the outer ‘burbs to view extreme Christmas light displays. The competition is fierce, particularly amongst the housing estate population.
Why put up one string of fairy lights if you can COVER YOUR HOUSE AND FRONT GARDEN WITH SEVENTY-FIVE DIFFERENT TYPES OF FLASHING GLOBE?
As I let my eyes adjust, part of me thinks: how tacky, revolting AND not very eco. Then I allow Christmas excitement to take over and find myself shouting, “OMG this is so cool look at that thing it seriously looks like fireworks why is a glowing Santa in the nativity scene oh who cares it’s all so bright and wonderful!”
So if you’re wondering whether you should pack Christmas away yet, or leave it for a bit longer, here’s my suggestion:
Swallow that Lindt ball and get off the couch immediately. Grab your plastic tree and throw it straight (baubles and all) into your wheelie bin (or your neighbour’s if yours is already full). Pull down the tinsel you Blu-tacked to your architraves and picture rails. Take your Hanson Snowed In CD to the op shop. Remove the batteries from your flashing “Rudolph-nose” earrings.
But leave up your Christmas lights, please, because they make classic Grinches like me feel (secretly) all warm and fuzzy.