On New Year's Eve, I decided it was time to start putting away Christmas decorations. De-decorating, if you will.
I knew that putting away the tree ornaments would be the most time-consuming task, and so started with that.
Every year, for as long as I can remember, my mother has given each of my sisters and me a Hallmark ornament. She has continued the tradition with my children, who now have growing collections themselves. I love unpacking these ornaments every year, carefully hanging them on the tree.
What I don't really love is putting them away.
I don't know how familiar you are with Hallmark packaging. It seems to go through phases. My early- to mid- 1980's ornaments fit snugly into two maddening molded plastic pieces that must be lined up precisely to fit into their boxes. The early- to mid- 1990's brought mostly tissue paper and bubble wrap, and late 90's on seems to be a mix, depending on the fragility of the ornament.
Following my mother's example, I have never ever committed the grievous sin of throwing away any Hallmark boxes or their varied foam, tissue, or plastic pieces designed to protect the ornaments during their eleven month hibernation. While the molded plastic packaging probably protects it's contents better than other forms, it is a royal pain to deal with.
So, December 31st, nap time, children firmly ensconced in their bedrooms and away from my precious ornaments. One at a time, I pluck each ornament off the tree, fit them delicately into their wrapping, and slide them gently into their respective boxes. Over and over and over I perform this process, until over an hour has passed, and I'm down to the last few ornaments.
That's when one of those Hallmark treasures decides to rebel.
Every year there's one. It doesn't want to go into it's box. It won't fit nicely into it's molded plastic covering. It doesn't want to go down for it's eleven month nap.
I was vaguely aware that I was muttering all this aloud, along with something about why this freaking reindeer with it's freaking golf club won't go into it's freaking box.
When I started fantasizing about sitting amongst a pile of shattered glass and tiny plastic antlers, I decided it was time to take a break.
Eventually I got them all put away, even the rogue reindeer. It's probably best I won't see them again for almost a whole year, as I keep thinking dark thoughts about that stupid athletic mammal, and wondering who will have the gall to disobey me next year.
Only eleven more months until next Christmas!