I do not decorate for every season, nor do I decorate for every holiday. I decorate for fall/Thanksgiving and am starting to do more decorating for Pascha (Easter) but Christmas? Well, I love decorating for Christmas. Many, many years ago I gave away all of our Christmas decorating stuff because we were in our “Christmas is Pagan and we don’t celebrate it phrase” (You can read a bit about our journey back to celebrating by reading my Christmas: It’s Not a Birthday Party blog post from last year.) I’ve been re-building our Christmas collection over the years. I still haven’t convinced my husband that we need outdoor decorations but that’s ok. He lets me have at it with the inside of the house! This year we did not do as much decorating as I have in the past.
But this post isn’t about putting up decorations. It’s about taking them down. When to take them down and what to do with them between now and next Christmas. When I was growing up we always kept the Christmas tree up until the weekend after New Year’s. My mom worked so it had to be a weekend as we were all too tired with work and school to take it down in the evenings during the week. Other than the Christmas tree we didn’t have much else up for decorating.
When my family became Orthodox, we decided that we would keep the tree up until January 6th. In the West January 6th is Epiphany while in the east it is Theophany. Some years the tree stayed up until the weekend after Theophany cause homeschooling is a work-at-home job and sometimes we just don’t want to do stuff like that at night.
This year we decided to take the stuff down on Sunday January 4th. “Normal” (notice the quote marks) life needed to begin on January 5th and having the tree still up would interfere with getting home school back on track.
BooBear is my natural born organizer. I put her in charge of dismantling the Christmas tree as well as gathering and packing all the decorations. I asked her to take pictures as she and her sisters worked but more importantly I asked her to do some decluttering and organizing of our Christmas things. This is the first Clean Home Challenge of 2015!
The cat, George, – yes, he was named after that curious monkey – had to check out everything. He had to be right in the middle of the action as BooBear gathered decorations, went through boxes, cleaned up ornaments and packed the plastic storage bins.
Boobear did not work alone. Tailorbear and Daddy worked together to pull down the garland. Then we had a discussion about whether or not we needed to get a new garland next year.
This year we found some boxes to store ornaments and then placed those boxes in the plastic storage bins. Boobear also created inventory tags to tape to the bins so that we would know where to find the movies and the books without having to dig through every container!
Thanks to the work that Boobear did, we know that we might want to replace our garland and that we need a new string of white lights. We also know what is in each of the Christmas bins and the bonus? We got rid of 3 sets of colored ball ornaments that we never use anymore because we have so many beautiful, sentimental and handcrafted ones.