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