I finally did it.
I took down my tree.
I said goodbye to last year’s Christmas.
I’ve been thrashing myself with a whip of cords for the last 10 years. I’m such a bum. A lazy mom. A loser that would leave the tree up until Valentine’s Day.
I walk past it over and over, wincing at the thought of unwrapping the lights and boxing up the ornaments. The stockings come down first, usually around MLK Day. Then the mantel lights. The tree skirt comes off. The Christmas Tupperware sits on the floor by the tree for a time and I throw in a few of the kids’ handmade goodies as they flutter to the ground.
Lazy, lazy, lazy.
My manger is still up. It might not go for another month or so.
The deck lights might become permanent. I unplugged the porch ones. That’s good enough for now.
I figured it out this morning. While I sawed off the branches. Yes, in the house. While it was still in the stand. What? You have you your process. I have mine.
The Christmas tree represents for me the magic of the holiday. The 6 of us picked it out and cut it down as per our tradition. Jim sets it up. I light the tree. The ornaments are about 40% handmade by my children. I didn’t even hang them this year. My children did. Well, 3 of them hung ornaments. My 2-year-old threw them at the tree and clapped when they landed on a branch. It was pure perfection in my eyes. We sit around it on Christmas morning and hand each other gifts. My kids buy for each other now. Watching them light up over the thoughtful choices was the pinnacle of Christmas spirit.
It is us. It is love and joy and magic.
By this time every year, I have a dried piney fire hazard in some corner of my living room. An old man of a tree. An elderly Christmas past.
And I have to euthanize it. Every year, I have to kill Christmas. I have to put it out of its misery and make way for the new year to blossom.
I’m not lazy. I’m grieving. Just a little bit. But enough to give me pause.
What if we’re not lazy every time we think we are? What if we’re anxious over change? What if we’re sad at letting go of something? What if we’re overwhelmed?
Feel your feels, peeps. Give them a name. Own them. Embrace them. Give them the attention they need so you can move forward in your life. In your day-to-days. In your living and loving. You are included in your loving. There are 6 people in my home that need me to care for them, not 5.
So today I am saying goodbye to 2016’s Christmas. I’m giving myself room to grieve so I can be wholeheartedly in 2017.
January 2018 will bring the death of 2017’s Christmas but I know what it is now. I can embrace the goodbye. I can beat myself up over one less thing. I can go forward feeling the unpleasant emotions so that there is room in my heart for the other ones.