Why You Should Take Your Christmas Lights Down Right Now
One of the saddest Christmas sights I’ve ever seen was a neighbour’s festive pine tree, discarded on the front curb at 8pm on Christmas Day.
I was driving back from the servo for an emergency run of milk when I spied it, droopy branches hanging over the curb like a hungover uncle, with bits of silver tinsel still caught in its sad little branches.
Talk about brutal. They must have whipped those decorations off the tree while the trifle was going warm on the table, and their relatives were making their final passive-aggressive comments of the evening.
I share this story as evidence of the idea that I’m not a Christmas Grinch. In fact if anything, I’m a Christmas Tragic; I truly believe it is the most magical time of the year.
But in order for Christmas time to be magical and special and wondrous, we need it to stay in its lane.
And that lane is officially December -- which is why your festive lights and Christmas decorations should be firmly back in their box by the 31st.
Even Taylor Swift gets it. Her romantic tune Lover opens with the lyric: “We could leave the Christmas lights up 'til January; this is our place, we make the rules.”
Tay sings this because she knows that it’s pure anarchy for Christmas to spill into January, and that to give into your laziness by not packing up your festive lights, it means you’re in breach of one of the unspoken rules that govern our civilised society.
Before you raise your fists Homer Simpson-style at the outrage of my stance on this, I want to make it known that I am aware of the timing here. January is literally six days after Christmas.
And they’re not just any six days, either.
The almost-week that passes between December 25 and the dawn of a new year are officially The Lost Days. You wake up and before you know it it’s the afternoon, and the grand sum of your movements for the day have been scoffing substantial second helpings of Christmas ham in your pyjamas while watching Friends re-runs.
Who has the time during those six hazy, ephemeral days to do anything meaningful -- let alone a major household chore like taking down Christmas lights?
Truthfully: you do. I do. We all do.
And ticking this item off your to-do list will make you feel like you’re a person who does things. Or better yet: you’re a person who Gets Things Done.
At the beginning of the year, we’re all brimming with good intentions and aspirations about the way we’d like to improve our lives. But how many of us have actually done anything yet with these good intentions? Smashed out that gym session? Started the day with a green smoothie? Spent less than two hours scrolling social media?
It’s the generally accepted truth that motivation follows action, meaning once you get started with something, you become more motivated to keep doing things. So, packing up the Christmas lights could motivate you into all manner of positive actions.
The fiercely religious reading along may hold the one and only genuine argument against rapid Christmas light removal, and that is Epiphany (or Three Kings' Day), a Christian "feast day" for the presentation of Jesus Christ as the son of God. It’s held on January 6 each year, exactly 12 days after Christmas.
For this group, I offer a begrudging pass.
For everyone else?
Do yourself a favour and tackle this annoying life chore; it may seem like a massive effort, but it can actually be knocked over in an hour.
Do the right thing and keep Christmas where it belongs, in December, so you can get your head in the game for what January is all about: shopping for hot cross buns.