Get out the shop vac–putting Christmas away

The lower branches of the tree were drooping, threatening to drop the glass balls.  It was time.

Last night, the weather report was dicey, so we cancelled our Friday plans.  The choice was to work on the FAFSA (stick me with sharp objects, why don’t you) or put Christmas away.  I opted for the latter of the two unpleasant tasks.  To prepare for the chore, we put on some jazz music and made popcorn.  Attitude is everything.  We celebrated when the tree went up.  We can celebrate when it comes down.

Fortunately, we have two advantages.  We have labeled boxes—with almost everything in its place—and we have clearly defined roles.  Roger is in charge of the tree from start to finish. I am in charge of the house decorations.  Roger sweeps the needles.  I vacuum.

(A quick word about vacuuming pine needles.  The careful pre-sweeping is probably most important.  Many recommend that pine needles be vacuumed with a shop vac, something more heavy-duty than a household vacuum.  The clog inside and wear-and-tear may not be apparent until the middle of February or March, when, suddenly, the vacuum quits.)

The best part about putting Christmas away is the opportunity to organize for next year.  For example, I saved some decorations that I want to try to imitate and make as gifts.  I put some ornaments aside to be donated, and I framed the most recent Santa photos for display next year.

Lastly, after everything was packed and sitting at the attic stairs, I hung a Santa key from a hook in an obscure corner, a reminder to myself that I can unlock Christmas in my heart any time.

More on putting the lid on Christmas 2011 in our podcast on Monday!

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