The Aftermath

This post is brought to you by Family Fridays – another variation on the Jenn stories.

I finally took our Christmas decorations down last Saturday.

I usually try to take them down the weekend of Epiphany, and sometimes even New Year’s Eve. When I was single with roommates and lived in a house with a deck far above the ground, I would undecorate the tree earlier that day, and then we would have a New Year’s Eve party with our friends, and at the stroke of midnight, hurl the dessicated thing off the deck, ostensibly into the woods behind the house, though it usually never made it that far and in the spring I’d have to go out and haul it back there.

This year? I was two weeks later than that little tradition. Which might have been okay, except that I also bought our cute little table-top tree, just the right size for our little table-top house, the day after Thanksgiving. Which was a week early last year. So I guess we got our money’s worth out of the thing. Only by the time I started taking decorations off of it last Saturday, the needles were pretty much being held on by nothing, and looked like this:

photo by jennwith2ns 2013

So much for “evergreen”

So then, when I would take an ornament off, the needles would slide right off with it:

photo by jennwith2ns 2013

It almost had a satisfying quality. Like bubble-wrap.

Shemp lay on his memory-foam dog bed in it usual spot next to the trunk where the tree stood, looking mournfully tolerant while the needles fell down around and on him, like rain.

photo by jennwith2ns 2013

Needling Shemp

I thought I got all the ornaments off before I carried the tree outside, devoid already of most of its needles, but as I opened the storm-door to the deck I heard a clunk and a clink and realised that the plaster Santa Claus on the plaster reindeer had become a casualty of my belated undecorating. It’s okay. I don’t even remember where I got that one, and I try only to have ornaments with stories. I trotted the Thing Formerly Known as a Tree off the deck and to the back where our burn-pile is, and then picked up the newly lamed Santa-reindeer combo and tossed it in the trash.

Now it was time to take all the other stuff down. You know those glass-ball ornaments that are very fine and fragile and full of pieces of potpourri? Well, there were two of those. One of them at least has accompanied me to every place I’ve lived and spent a Christmas since college, which is pretty miraculous, so I guess the fact that it met its demise last Saturday when I tried to take it off the curtain-rod finial on which it had been hanging, was still far greater longevity than I should have expected of it. But it was the prettier of the two, and its hanging-ribbon caught on the final curve of the finial, and yanked it out of my hand. It flew up in the air and fell straight back down, shattering with a decisive but disheartening pop, right next to where Shemp was lying.

He jumped up and out of the way immediately, and I, uttering a few curses totally unbefitting either Christmas or a seminary student, dragged out the vacuum cleaner. I mean, I was going to vacuum anyway. Half the tree was still in the house–all over the floor. But there’s always something anxiety producing about shattered glass, particularly when there are small children (which there weren’t) and animals (which there were and always are) about. Plus, I really liked that ornament–far more than the Santa one–and this seemed like a really stupid way to have broken it (though I’m not sure I can think of a not-stupid one).

I vacuumed and vacuumed, and apparently hadn’t done that since much after setting up the tree in the first place, because along with the piles of needles and shards of broken glass, there was about one full dog’s-worth of Shemp’s hair everywhere. I had to empty the Dyson canister three times, and our house is only 650 square feet. I know–it’s disgusting. Don’t tell me.

It’s a good thing no one was home while all this was going on. By the time my Paul and Alicia came home from the store, the ornaments and lights were boxed and stored, the garland was down and the floor was vacuumed. I was also done swearing. That was when Alicia started dropping stuff. Sometimes it’s just the day, I guess.

What’s your favourite Christmas (or other event–or nonevent) ornament? Why? When did you get it? Where did it come from?

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10 thoughts on “The Aftermath

  1. Cluck!! Hi. In the UK we send Christmas cards to each other. Just keeping in touch once a year with olden day friends with a note telling of this, that and the other that happened during the year. Many are kept and reread many years later. I have no ornaments as such this year as I moved house and cats and ornaments don’t mix too well. Big Seasonal hug. Ralph xox 😀

    • Thanks! Yeah–we do the card (or at least newsletter) thing here, too. See my “Happy Birthday, Dear Jesus” post for an idea of how THAT went one year . . . Or maybe you already saw that post.

      Anyway. It’s a good tradition.

      We have a cat who, miraculously I think, didn’t even touch our ornaments. But I’m not counting on that happening every year. You are probably wise.

      How’s your new place?

      • Yes. I saw that post and the fun you had with the mailing system! I used to have a tree with ornaments to the lowest level of branches. Each year the ornaments went up a level because the cats decided it was good fun to knock them off and pat them around the floor. So the tree had to go in the end after one cat climbed to the top and unbalanced it over. Cats and Christmas decorations don’t mix in my house.
        I am only a matter of hours away from the apartment being mine. All the debt and ownership checks have been done and are okay. So it’s now just a matter for my lawyer to arrange a date with the notary for handing it over to me. The builders are on standby to smash the place up and rebuild it to my specifications. Then hopefully I can relax.
        Is everything okay with you?

        • Wow–congratulations!

          My brother in law has two dogs for whom he had to raise the level of the ornaments on the tree–but fortunately for him, neither of them is likely ever to be able to climb it.

          All is well here–even the migraines are getting less. Speaking of which, has our friend of Mrs Migraines posted anything lately? I haven’t seen anything. Is she okay?

      • She has gone under the radar again about 10 days ago. She complained to me of being cold. Len has family in a Ministry who lives near by and Elisa is clued up on how she could get medicines but she refused all help and is not answering my emails. So it’s just a matter of waiting until she surfaces again.
        That is really good news about your migraine and that all’s well. I can’t remember where but on a post a woman was talking about a chiropractor who treated her for some other ailment she had and her migraine stopped immediately which was a shock to her. I will see if I can find the post again. Getting late here 04:00 better go. Night Jenn. Ralph xox

  2. I don’t remember when the last time I vacuumed was. I think Mr. Wonderful did it last, and he informed me, lickity-split, about the horrors my hair had wreaked on the vacuum cleaner. Fair enough, the last time I vacuumed, I had to take a pocket knife to the brush to cut it all off twice. My housekeeping is abysmal, but it might be a small consolation to know that I didn’t take down my Christmas tree until March last year (luckily it was just a small, fake one), and my brother makes a point of informing me that I have forgotten to put the nativity away for a solid 14 months now. You’ve got at least one person beat on that score.

    I received my favorite Christmas ornament when I was four at Sunday school. It’s a blue clear background with a picture of Mary on it. I guess we all got an ornament with a picture of who we’d played in the church Christmas play that year, but I don’t remember playing the part, just getting the ornament. It felt special somehow, but it’s the first ornament I remember getting, and it is rather pretty. I am obsessed with hanging it up so it always has a blue or yellow light behind it. Luckily, I don’t think it’s breakable. Breaking things we care about is always a let down, though, and even though I know I shouldn’t care so much about something that’s “just an object” I’m afraid I connect memories to them, and usually do care just because I’m afraid I’ll forget without it.

    • You totally get it! I have some ornaments that I always have to put in a certain relation to each other, or to a light, too.

      Having a fake tree gives you a little more flexibility. My Swedish grandmother has a saying, ‘May your Christmas last until Easter,’ and she used to try to lab her wreath up that long every year.

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