Monday was the Twelfth Day of Christmas. It is time.
My kitchen table is piled high with green and red remnants of the season—an empty candy bowl, a stack of greeting cards, a bow that didn’t get tossed on Christmas day. In the napkin holder, the handful of poinsettia-design dinner napkins no longer stand, but flop over like a dying dandelion. In the red tin are three, way-beyond-stale cookies—the prettiest ones, which we couldn’t bring ourselves to eat. Now they’d break teeth if we tried.
Over at the Christmas village, a lamp post lies on its side. I’m tired of turning it upright. The cat wins.
Sigh. It’s over. Tomorrow I start bringing the boxes upstairs.
When I was a child, I wanted to keep Christmas up forever. It made sense, considering the time spent unpacking and arranging decorations. Besides, there was such a magic to it all. It always felt so festive just to walk into a room freshly adorned with sparkle and light. The smell of pine, whether from the tree, a candle, or a can, mingled with the hint of secrets in the air. And people just seemed nicer at Christmas.
Now, I get it. I understand why it all has to come down. In the first place, the cat needs to rest. The poor thing’s been over stimulated since the second week of December.
But more importantly, if we left them up, the decorations would become ordinary. We’d become so accustomed to them that we wouldn’t even notice they were there. In the same way we tend to appreciate health more after a troubling illness, or a working car after getting it out of the shop, part of the magic of the Christmas season lies in opening boxes we packed away in January and rediscovering their contents.
Still, I’ve been thinking about how to preserve parts of Christmas, particularly the “people just seem nicer” part. It occurs to me, that’s the love part, and that doesn’t have to be packed away. Love isn’t seasonal, and it’s never ordinary, so let’s try something new.
Every month I’m going to put a suggestion at the end of my blog called “Christmas, Year-round,” in which we’ll take a loving Christmas tradition and keep it going. For example, in January, let’s all choose three people who would least expect it and send them each a card. Not a Christmas card, but an “I’m thinking of you” card (letters work too, but I won’t push my luck). If something interesting comes of your endeavor, I’d love to hear about it.
Something tells me it’s going to be a good year.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:15