Christmas Decoration Etiquette

I grew up celebrating both Christmas and Hanukkah. My mom is Christian and my dad is Jewish. This meant double the presents, which I always enjoyed. But my dad had quirky rules about what celebrations were allowed. Christmas trees? Acceptable. Lights outside the house? Absolutely forbidden. An electronic menorah was also a must. My mom and I would decorate a plastic tree for a while, but eventually we got tired of carting it to and from the basement. The tree tradition slowly died. Because of this, I was very excited to go all out with our Christmas decorations now that Chris and I have our own apartment.  I was never a rebellious teenager. I didn’t pierce body parts, my hair was always a color found in nature, and I wouldn’t have known how to sneak out of my house if you paid me. But my one act of rebellion was totally Christmas-ifying my apartment. Chris and I strung up lights all around the kitchen, nailed stockings on the shelves (we have no chimney), we bought a tree and decorated it with tons of ornaments and tinsel. I bought cute little snowmen and a brown bear carrying a Christmas tree to decorate our tables. The place looked super festive. But here is what I did not anticipate: how annoying it is to take all of this stuff down when Christmas is over.

Chris was raised Catholic, so I let him take the lead when it comes to best Christmas decoration practices. He told me that there was something called the 12 Days of Christmas, which means that it’s okay to leave your Christmas tree and other decorations up even after Christmas is over. This sounded good to me. I liked this festive stuff and it took a while to put it all up. Might as well leave it and enjoy it. However, as I write this it is now mid-January  and our Christmas tree is still lit and assembled in our living room. Our stockings are still hung by the non-existent chimney with care. The lights that used to be cute and Christmas-y are making our kitchen look like a dive bar. I’m pretty sure we’ve passed the 12 days of Christmas threshold and are now reaching the “too lazy to take this stuff down” threshold.

When I have a few minute, I see that Christmas tree staring at me. Taunting me, almost. I think about taking it apart and putting it back in its box. But then I think about how I’d have to remove each ornament, one by one. I’d have to unwrap all of the tinsel and all of the lights. I’d have to figure out how the plastic tree snapped together and then do the opposite to take it apart and put it away. I’d have to find room in this small apartment to store it. I’d have to find something equally as cute to replace Mr. Festive Snowman and Mr. Whimsical Brown Bear when I put them away. I’d have to stand on a chair and work my way around the kitchen to take down our lights. No, thank you. I’d rather watch the many episodes of Dance Moms that await me on my DVR.

Sometimes I try to trick Chris into taking down the decorations himself.

“Soooo our tree is still up?” I’ll say, almost as a question.

“Yeah…”, he’ll respond.

“Why don’t we take it down today?” I ask.

“Okay. We can do that.”

“But I thought you actually said you’d do it yourself though, so maybe you could just do it.”

“I’m pretty sure you volunteered to take down the tree last weekend.”

Was he trying to trick me into volunteering to take down the tree? Or was I stupid enough to volunteer for this project when I was over-caffeinated and feeling energized? I had to think quickly.

“No. I wouldn’t volunteer for that. And I have a lot of stuff to do…so why don’t I go to the grocery store and you can take down the decorations?”

“No. We can go together and do it when we get home.”

Chris’s idea of hell is the grocery store on a Sunday, so you know this is a bad project.

“We can figure it out later,” I say as I put my shoes on to go to the store.

I’m not worried though. If we wait a few months we can say that the decorations are an ironic “Christmas in July” sort of thing. And if we wait even longer then it will be time to put them up again anyway. That’s just what busy people do.

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