I love Christmas. Everyone who knows me knows that. For that matter, plenty of people who don’t know me may have been able to guess by my slightly over-enthusiastic embracing of the season. It was me, after all, that forced our department to put up the Christmas decorations as soon as we hit December and then proceeded to sing Christmas carols up until my last second in the office before the holidays. Not to mention the little band we formed with various items from the crackers at the team Christmas lunch (amazing how well you can play “Jingle Bells” on a bag of marbles). It was also me you may have spotted smiling insanely whilst skipping along the supermarket aisle to the strains of “Hark, the Herald”.
If I haven’t made it completely clear by now I love everything about Christmas: the lights, the glittering trees, the carols and the other Christmas songs, the excuse to spend time with family and friends, the food (Christmas pudding anyone?), the cheesy feel-good films and, even more importantly, the ultimate eternal reason behind all the festivities.
I love Christmas so much that it always comes as a surprise that I also get a mysterious buzz from packing it all away once I’ve seen in the New Year. And so it was yesterday as we gleefully ripped the tinsel off the desks (for once not playing tunes in our marble band) and happily packed away the flashing Santa lights. The same space that felt wonderfully cheery only a few weeks ago had begun to feel unnecessarily cluttered. Sweeping it all away left nothing but a feeling that the space was now clean and airy. Clean perhaps was a little strong for the rather dusty glow left behind but nothing that a good old duster couldn’t fix.
I suddenly felt motivated to clear out the drawer of my desk (long overdue) and gained great satisfaction from neatly laying out post-it notes, pens and other exciting stationery. Not to mention the joy of actually cleaning it out with wet-wipes. Amazingly I managed to fill an entire waste-paper basket with the remains and still have plenty of items left to fill the drawer. What a busy day.
The fun wasn’t over when I returned home. Far from it. The non-tree decorations and lights made their way swiftly into bags and boxes leaving freshness in their wake while the washing machine cycled through two loads. Presents are finally finding new homes and I’ve regained a whole corner of the house that was once swamped with bags and boxes of goodies.
There are of course one or two boxes of excess food and drink lying around for my liking but we have a party to look forward to next weekend. I very much hope that those invited will ignore their pointless New Year’s dieting resolutions and help resolve my “I bought too much food” crisis by tucking into gigantic bowls of crisps and nuts. Otherwise they may be mysteriously uninvited. Anyone bearing a box of Mince Pies will be immediately turned away.
Even with everything else tidied and packed away, the Christmas tree is always the hardest to part with. Quite literally. Have you ever tried to pull apart a good quality fake tree? I’ve not exactly been toning my muscles over the festive season. Somehow taking down the tree seems to plunge us back into bleak darkness. January is so often a long, dark and dreary month with little light to keep us smiling and the promise of spring too far away. The Christmas tree brings light and cheer to the darkest night and without it all light seems to have been sucked out of life. Perhaps January is the right time to remember again the Light of the World that came down at Christmas. For that light never goes out and we can never pack it away, even if we choose to ignore it.
In the meantime, the house looks more tidy and I can start thinking of all the new projects to be undertaken and all the old things to be thrown out (of our home and our lives) in 2012. A new year of opportunity and chances to take and live out in the very best way that we can.
Happy New Year.