Jan 5, 2012

What goes up, must come down

Just like the old Blood Sweat & Tears song and Newton's law of gravity, the Christmas decorations that go up must eventually come down.

When do you take yours down?  I have friends who have them down in the twinkling of an eye, pretty much as soon as Christmas dinner is finished. 

As for me, I let mine linger a bit.  We start our decorating later than most, and I'm just not ready to put it all away on December 26.  But I do make sure it's down shortly after we've ushered in the new year.

Every year for several years, I have vowed to go through all the Christmas bins and straighten them out.  This year, I made good on that promise.  No excuses - the walk-in attic is adjacent to our bonus room, so I had the perfect staging area to spread out all my tubs and really organize them.  I also did a little "Santa's Workshop" repair on a few items that needed re-gluing.

Today marks the 12th day of Christmas (see note), and I'm happy to say my decorations are down and tucked away, and I've even made a little headway on decorating the dining room for the winter months.  Den and foyer are next.

There were two distinct approaches I could take to stowing away my Christmas decorations:

1. Room-by-room (kitchen, dining room, UT stuff for the bonus room....)
2. Like-goes-with-like (garlands, ornaments, lights, nutcrackers, Christmas village...)

I chose...both.

For example, the kitchen tub contains everything I need to set up my kitchen for Christmas:  tree decorations, Christmas mugs and linens, even my party paper goods (of which I have enough to last the next 30 years.  Okay, maybe just the next two or three, but it seems like a lot.)  Next to it is the box with next year's gift mugs for my 3rd graders.  I picked them up on clearance, and it's one less thing to worry about.

Yes, the caroler's book is upside down
On the other hand, my nutcracker collection stays together (albeit in one large tub and two wine boxes - they are the perfect size for storing them.)  I store them as a group even though some go to the sunroom, some to the kitchen, some to the den and some to the foyer.  I always shuffle them up, so each year I can pull them out and decide who-goes-where.  Ditto for the garlands and wreaths.  But the light strands and ornaments are separated in tubs for specific trees: dining room, big tree, UT tree.

I also tucked in some reminders for next year to make decorating easier - you know, those things you tell yourself, "next year, I'll do it this way instead" and next year, you remember it too late?  Yeah, me too.  Maybe my notes will help next year - we'll see.)

Of the stuff I didn't use this year, I designated one tub for Santa Claus decorations, and another for snowmen and the cream/gold ornaments. When I get the urge to switch from silver to gold, or do a Santa or snowman theme, I can "shop" from my own inventory first.

After everything was in tubs and I had tossed all the irreparable, melted, discolored or otherwise unusable stuff, there remained two large bags of "haven't-used-in-forever" (or maybe never) stuff.  I'll take pity on the Goodwill folks who are dealing with the year-end glut, and keep them until early next fall to drop off. They're set aside in one corner, visibly marked for their final destination.

The only remaining to-do is to get some shelving up in the attic so when I need the tub on the bottom of the stack (isn't that always the one you need?) I don't have to offload all the other tubs to fetch it. But that's a task that can wait for a warm Saturday so we don't get frostbite in the process.

Even though Christmas is officially over and the decorations are down, I think I'm going to be vacuuming up glitter and pine needles for a very long time....

Happy cleaning,

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P.S.   A big thank-you to Mr. Kurek for setting me straight on how to count the twelve days of Christmas. I'm just glad I was a day ahead, instead of a day behind!