Yesterday was the worst day of the entire year. Or at least my own personal version of it.
I packed Christmas up into its preassigned boxes, carried them to basement for another year, and took the tree out to the curb. The aftermath of the holiday season will be apparent for weeks as I struggle to find the correct place in my house for all of my new stuff. I’ll play pick a pine needle a day from my dining room rug and needlessly overstuff myself with party leftovers. But it’s over. The day that officially signifies the end of the holiday season has come and gone in the Karpen house, and in no way was it enjoyable or happy.
It brings with it a lot of feelings of dread and despair. I don’t want the holidays to be over. I don’t want vacation to be over. I don’t want to spend the bulk of my day cleaning. I want to keep sharing my week nights with Macaulay Culkin, that kid’s goofy face makes me happy. I don’t want to mistakenly write ’14 instead of ’15 several times this week. I don’t know for certain where I’ll be or what my life will be like when I pull these same boxes out of storage in approximately 335 days, and I’d rather not think about it at the moment. So no, I don’t enjoy the end of the holiday season.
But it does also bring a feeling of get the F out of my house Christmas. Goodbye and good riddance. Even as one of Santa’s biggest fans I’m still slightly baffled over the time-honored tradition of going outside (this year in the rain and mud) to cut down a tree, then bring that tree into your home to put on display for the better part of a month while it slowly dies in your living room. It’s a lot of work, and an inevitable mess. But I do it, in a very ritualized manner, every year. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
In the end it turns out to be somewhat liberating to go through the physical task of packing Christmas up into boxes, while mentally compartmentalizing my year. Some stuff I hold on to, I’ll want or need it again. Other stuff I kick to the curb with the tree. Discarded and forgotten, as if it never existed in the first place. For one day, in order to emotionally cope with my breakup (with Christmas), I like to pretend that life is just that simple.
On the bright side my least favorite task of 2015 is already completed. Hallelujah!