Running on Empty: Goodbye, Christmas…


Christmas decorations are a beast. After weeks of decorating for the holidays and a couple months enjoying them, it’s time to start reverting to normal life. How long after Christmas is too long to keep your tree up? Days? Weeks? Longer?

I know there are those of you who hop out of bed the day after Christmas (or even New Year’s), whisk the garland and ornaments into a color-coordinated box, and stow all semblance of Christmas until November.

That’s not me.


If we’re talking full disclosure here, I once left my exterior lights up on my house all year long. Okay, to be honest, that was just two years ago. What can I say? I hate getting on the roof in cold weather, and if they’re up in July, they might as well be up in August too. And then it’s practically Christmas!

Also, I have great neighbors. Rather than a nuisance, my lights became something of a running, good-natured joke. But when it came time to put lights up again in December, guess who had the last laugh!

The tree is another issue entirely. Thank goodness we have a child born in March, meaning cleaning up Christmas goes from luxury to necessity a couple weeks before party time.

I guess it doesn’t really matter how long you leave your decorations up. To each his own, right? But I have to say, a couple weeks into January…I’m ready to get my house back.

Stepping gingerly around the tree and the multitude of new Christmas toys on the floor gets old real fast. So does the constant “Don’t touch that!” and “Be careful! My grandmother made those!” as nerf darts go flying past family heirlooms and treasured leg lamps.

Throw in the various Santa Claus statues, the two ceramic Christmas trees, and a personalized Pottery Barn Kids advent house (that my wife has informed me they just don’t make anymore), and I’m tired of feeling crowded.

Christmas is wonderful, and if you’ve read my column for long, you know it saturates every part of our lives for at least two full months. But I’m ready to stretch out. I’m ready to feel like this house has the space we remember – the empty corners and open floors, the clear counters and clean sight lines, and yes, even the throwing lanes for nerf balls and the occasional flying stuffed animal.

As much as I love the holidays, it’s time for Christmas to get put away so the family can re-inherit the house.

Goodbye, Christmas – at least for a little while.

Hellloooo, baseball season!