And Just Like That! It’s Over.

I really enjoyed the  Christmas season this year — even more than usual. And I do love Christmas. But this year, it was especially enjoyable. I don’t know why exactly, probably because I took so much more time and effort than usual with our interior decorating. I loved being in my home so much this past month. It probably also helps that we did a quick family room makeover so it was all fresh and new.

holiday home tour

We stayed home this year, another reason I think I enjoyed the Christmas season so much. Being able to celebrate in our own home on our own time without the stress of travel was a luxury. Our family has definitely reached the stage where we are better off staying home for the holidays. It’s funny, when I had younger kids, I didn’t get that at all. But now that they’re older, it is nice to be in our own space.

Christmas Eve was a bit hectic, as we tried to host dinner for friends before our 7pm worship service. Next year, I am making dinner reservations!! I’m marking my calendar NOW so I don’t forget to do that early in the month before the restaurants are booked.

Earlier in the day, somewhere amidst the dinner prep and the gingerbread houses that flopped and the last minute Christmas shopping (procrastinate much??), we arranged to pick up a new piano to surprise my younger daughter for Christmas. Her excitement was worth all the fuss.

gingerbread houses

piano

Christmas Eve is also our older daughter’s birthday so even though we had already celebrated with her earlier in the week, I ordered a small birthday cake to have for her after dinner.

c birthday cake

Ya think I tried to fit in a little too much the day before Christmas??? But that’s how we roll . . .

I enjoyed our simple Christmas Eve lessons and carols service, even though our accommodations leave a lot to be desired. I had a grumpy moment earlier in the week, wishing we could worship our Savior in a beautiful church building with all the aesthetics we have come to expect in a modern American worship service, even considering going somewhere else to have this utopian experience, until the irony hit me like a brick.

Jesus left his heavenly throne and all that glory to be born in a dirty stinky barn so that I can have eternal life, and I am cranky because I have to worship him and celebrate that “less than desirable” birth in a chilly gymnasium? Really, Jo-Lynne???? 

Once I got my head screwed on straight, I happily went to our little gymnasium-church with my family and friends and sang those familiar Christmas carols with gusto. It’s not about the surroundings, after all. Sometimes we need a little reality check, ya know?

Here’s a photo I grabbed with my son before we left. I don’t get him to cooperate for photos very often, and I love this.

D and me

The lighting in that room is always horrid. I don’t know why I bother! Anyway.

We came home after church and wrapped presents until well after midnight. Then we woke up for a leisurely Christmas morning of presents and brunch. I love this picture. It totally captures each of their personalities.

christmas morning

Our Christmas Day was as serene and relaxing as Christmas Eve was hectic and stressful. We enjoyed each other and opened our presents slowly, one at a time. Everyone was thrilled with their loot. (That paper I’m holding is the proof that my husband paid for a year’s subscription to XM Radio. I’m so excited. Our free trial was running out and I was too cheap to pay for it, so he bought it for me for Christmas.)

christmas morning

Later in the day, we got gussied up and drove over to my brother-in-law’s home for dinner. Everything was delicious, and best of all, we got to come home and sleep in our own beds.

Then yesterday afternoon, after a lazy morning hanging out at home, Paul started hauling boxes down from the attic and announced that he was going to take down the live Christmas tree.

You see, my husband has this thing about the Christmas tree being up after Christmas. He can’t stand it. He thinks it’s depressing.

I tried to point out that we aren’t really done with Christmas yet because we are still hosting his family celebration on Sunday, but he wasn’t buying it.

So on December 26th, we took down our tree.

Usually I love the clean, spacious feeling of the room without the tree, but this year, it makes me sad. I was enjoying it so much. I’m really not ready to be done with Christmas. I still have my fancy tree in the living room. I REFUSE to take that down before New Year’s Eve. And it is in my line of sight when I’m sitting at my desk in my office, which, as you know, is where I spend the vast majority of my life, so I’ll have to be satisfied with that.

But that’s it. Christmas is over for all intents and purposes. Our family celebration on Sunday will be our one last hurrah.

I hope you and yours had a lovely holiday. Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, I hope you had a chance to take it easy and relax a bit this week. I will definitely enjoy getting back to our normal routine in January, and I’m excited about some things I have planned for ye olde blawg in 2014. I’m also *this close* to sharing a piece of awesome news that I’ve been sitting on for a few weeks. I want to make sure it’s definitely a go before I make it public, but if it works out, it’s a project that’s going to monopolize my life for the next few months.

So how about you? When do you take your tree down?? Are you sorry to see it go, or are you happy to get your house back??

What was the best part of your holiday this year??

Comments

    • Dawn says

      I’m with you, Emily. We are Catholic, and our tradition dictates the tree and decorations don’t come down until the wise men come on the 6th!

  1. says

    I always cogitate for leaving the tree up until 1/6. This year, we had the most beautiful live tree ever-until it started shedding its needles at a furious rate the week before Christmas. There was a veritable carpet of needles underneath. I am not sure what happened-it was watered daily. We took it down this morning-it is at the curb with no needles at all. Not sure what our neighbors will think:)

  2. Cheryl says

    We usually leave our tree up until the first weekend in January, but I’m not sure it will last that long. It’s been dropping needles like crazy. I do hate to take it down, though. Actually, I just ADDED another tree TODAY! I found a cute skinny 5’5″ tree at Bed Bath & Beyond, which I ended up paying $20 for…I originally wanted to put it on my side porch, but it didn’t look like I thought it was, so I put it in an open corner of the dining room and I LOVE it!

    Last year, I actually started doing some serious “winter” decorating, simply because taking down the Christmas decorations is so depressing for me. Lots of snowy and icy-looking stuff – just found the perfect winter centerpiece today at Kohl’s for $10 (originally $40) so I’m excited to put it out when the Christmas stuff gets put away.

  3. Shari says

    Great pics!!

    We will leave ours up for a few more days at least. We have out of town company arriving tomorrow, and I want the house to still be decorated for them. :-) Plus since it was such a short season, I’m not ready to let everything go quite yet. Our tree is still in great shape too — one of the great things about cutting your own is that you buy extra time because it doesn’t sit on a truck & a lot.

  4. Lee Ann says

    I love the title of this post. It’s what I usually say about Christmas. One day and it’s over. Every Christmas I say that it will be here again before you know it and come even quicker than this year. I take down the tree the day after New Years. My husband is more like yours; the tree can come down right away, but since I take everything off, he has to wait. Love the pictures and seeing the toys around the tree. My girls are older so no more toys under our tree. Happy New Year!!

  5. Harriet says

    Our tree is out the door and not a minute too soon. This Christmas was all about simple and small. My hubs spent the week after Thanksgiving on the oncology floor at the hospital (Leukemia). That meant I only had 2 1/2 weeks to decorate and prepare for Christmas. Someone brought us a live tree. We added lights and a large bow. Period. And Christmas came and went without ornaments or nutcrackers or Santa’s (of which I have tons of in the attic). I did get the Nativity out and displayed in the middle of the dining room table.
    Loved what you said about worshiping. I love a traditional place of worship and traditional hymns. But it isn’t about that. It’s about the best gift ever that God sent us. Thanks for sharing your blog!

  6. Jenn says

    Tell your husband that many Scandinavians keep their tree until 19 days after Christmas Eve. Then they kick the tree to the curb and burn it. It’s in honor of st Knut, a long ago king of Denmark who believed Christmas should be 20 days long.

    I like to keep our tree until the 6th. My birthday is on the 5th and I like having the tree around. My holiday decorating leans more towards a winter theme so I can keep most of it up until spring.

  7. Joanne says

    I used to want to get the tree down, but as I’ve gotten older I enjoy seeing it up without the chaos of Christmas preparations. We leave our tree up until after the Epiphany on Jan. 6. Our Epiphany celebration is almost as big as Christmas day.

  8. says

    I am going to take our stuff down on Monday. I am ready to “take the house back” from Christmas. The rude holiday shoppers have ruined the Christmas season for me, and I just want to put it behind me, and get to Spring!

  9. Terry (mzzterry) says

    We took our stuff down today. I could have left it up for a few more weeks, but I had my husband here to help today so we worked together! We had such a sweet and wonderful holiday season celebrating with our grandson who just turned three. His wonder and excitement added so much joy to even the smallest traditions. He still wants to sing Christmas songs and we might just continue till next Christmas! Happy New Year to you and your family. :)

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