Looking at Epiphany

Today is the twelfth day of Christmas. It is the day which marks the end of Christmastime. In the tradition of our family it is the day when all the decorations come down. Decorating usually takes several days but the take down is swift. I am very organized so there is a box and a place for every ornament and every decoration. The only 2 items I do not do (as in refuse to be involved with) are the lights and the tree. We are methodical and all the ornaments are removed first, then the angel or star (we alternate with the star on even years and the angel gets the odd years) is gently removed and safely packed away. With the tree nearly naked, I beat a retreat while Sparky tackles the lights and tree disassembly. While he is fuming and sputtering, I quickly and easily pack up the 4-6 nativity sets, remove the garland, take down the stockings and remove the wreaths. Generally this is completed before Sparky has the lights off the tree. This year I put up the weihnachtspyramide that my sister bought for us way back in 1984 when she and her husband were in Germany (he was stationed there in the Army). It takes a little more time to pack away since I have to be very careful. Still I am done before Sparky gets the tree put back in the box. It is a bittersweet event. I love Christmas and the house always looks a little forlorn once all the sparkle and color is packed away. Still it is nice to put things back in their places. The loveseat and library table will be moved to allow access to the living room from the dining room once more. The photos and art that were displaced by all the Creches and Nativity sets will be returned to their rightful places. And of course I’ll be vacuuming up garland bits that fell off for at least a month.  So in honor of the putting away I have written a little Decima – a 10 line poem with 8 syllables per line and a rhyme scheme of abbaaccddc.
Christmas decorations undo
Pack up the weihnachtspyramide
Unplug lights from the power grid
Box ornaments red, green, and blue
Take down stockings for me and you
Remove the garland that’s the plan
Careful to fold angel’s wingspan
Put the nativity away
And the door wreath that carols play
Next year we’ll get them out again

37 thoughts on “Looking at Epiphany

  1. I’m thinking about undecorating today too. I decided that today was the earliest it could happen. My job will be quicker than yours. I hardly decorated this year. I’m not sure that I will do it today. One of life’s mysteries. I’m in no hurry.

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    1. If I could get away with it I’d leave them up until my birthday and then make others pack it away… but then I’d have to accept their version of organization and that just won’t do. I almost didn’t put the baby Jesus back from the kitchen nativity. But I did in the end because I just couldn’t break up the family!

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  2. Our tree is pre lit but I’m thinking next year to use the table top tree which isn’t. Moving our huge rocker is to much for us now and no one is around to put it back. In fact I’m the only one to take the tree down and that was hard for me this year. I had to do it early, Friday they come to do my windows, inside and out.

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    1. I have a little pre lit tree that my mother gifted me. It is just the right size to put in the bay window on the bench. This year I didn’t put it up and instead opted to use the even smaller one that sheltered on of the nativity sets. It gave me a place to hang the angel from that set – which usually has to stand with the shepherds….

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  3. I bought a prelit 4′ tree this year, and it sits behind the couch on a table, since the couch is tilted, and backing a corner there. I’m not totally happy with the light placements, but – it’s quicker to put it up and take down. I have two trees to remove decorations from, though the second one is only 12″ tall. I will also be taking it all down this evening after work. It’s all done by me, because I am enjoying the single life as a senior adult. I’ve already removed the throws and pillow covers to launder them, so it’s just the tree and other decor to pack up.

    I have a few snowman decorations to tuck in after the Christmas stuff goes, so it’s not all naked, but it still isn’t nearly as colorful or the same size. My favorite is a snowman head, with a cup for his hat. Inside are soft fuzzy snowballs, hehehe. My grandson and I will have fun with them!

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    1. My MIL collects snowmen. She has them everywhere at Christmas (and basically all winter). I love the thought of the snowman with the snowballs in his hat – I’m sure Sparky would love to have such a thing to throw snowballs at the TV when the refs make a bad call (that goes against his football team)! Have fun with your grandson and the snowman!!

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  4. Last night I undecorated the tree and took it down. Today I been working on the rest of the indoor Christmas. Outside was down Monday on the nicest day of the week. As soon as Christmas is down my quilt frame goes up.

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    1. I’ve never gotten into quilting. My sister has made so many things – including her curtains and quilt and matching pillows in her bedroom! I’ve always admired them but never wanted to learn (or had the space to do it until now – I have a room dedicated to my crafts and sewing)!

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  5. Thank you for including an explanation regarding the weihnachtspyramide. For a moment there I was concerned you were finishing off the eggnog 🙂 I’m starting on the annual Ham Soup tradition today with the ham bone. I love the Xmas ham, but after two weeks I’m well and truely pleased to see the end of it.

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    1. We bought a really little ham this year and it was gone in 3 days and the soup bone gone when I made the black-eyed peas on New Years Day. I did buy some eggnog on sale after Christmas but it is now frozen so that I can make an eggnog pie this spring and summer (when you can NOT find any eggnog in the stores). I’m glad the link worked for the weihnachtspyramide!

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  6. So much humor , Val! 🙂 you are right, by this way the speediness of the moving (tree, creche, garland , lights) let not any time of sadness . . Here all of this goes in the attic like every year for fifty years .
    Love ❤
    Michel

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    1. Yes some of my decorations are very old – I have one ornament that is hand blown from Germany that was my grandfather’s. It has to be at least 100 years old… My sons know that someday they will inherit all the decorations! I just hope they appreciate them!

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  7. Very lovely poem. I took down my show yesterday and it took less than 10 minutes to undo what took an hour and help to put up. My decorating consists of a string of lights in the front window and a candle in a little stained glass thing my Aunt Jo gave me that has an angel on front. I like small living Christmas trees and that just wasn’t happening this year. I didn’t miss it. ❤

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  8. Loved the poem. Our decorating is minimal, so take down is quick… outdoor figurines go back in the shed, glass nativity is re-packed in its boxes, batteries are removed and star-shaped lights are put back in their ziploc bag. Ornaments are removed from Charlie Brown tree which is folded up and stowed in the Christmas trunk, along with the stockings and weighted hangers. Done. I don’t have a specific day I do it, just whenever I feel like it. 🙂

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    1. Joan this sounds delightful. I have 4 banana boxes, 3 large totes, and 2 smaller plastic totes… Fortunately I don’t empty them! Instead I rotate decorations. Next year my nutcrackers and smokers will be out along with my Santas. The 4 nativities that went up this year will stay packed and the other 4 will have their turn. The only decoration that hasn’t been put up in recent years are the electric candles circa 1960 that we inherited from his folks. Until I figure out how to plug them all in without losing all my outlets, they will stay boxed up!

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  9. Wow, I knew I was a scrooge but you’all really put me to shame. I bought three poinsettias, placed them on the front steps, watered them, called it good. In a few weeks, I’ll plant them in the yard where their less hardy predecessors gave up. There’s no rhyme or reason as to why some thrive and grow four feet tall in a year and others become skeletons.

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    1. I gave up on the poinsettia. I have a fake one that my mother gave me. She was able to get one to live over winter and even kept it going for a couple years. Of course in Indiana there is no way to plant it outside with any expectation that it will survive…. But that was one out of many since most failed! Good luck with this year’s plants – maybe they will thrive despite being from 2020!!

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  10. I recall my folks taking everything down on January 2. I helped Dad take down the ornaments, following Mom’s directions, as to which box contained which items. All were then stored in the cabinet. “down cellar”. The tree, back then, was always an actual evergreen, so we had to get it out of the house by the day after New Year’s, due to fire laws. I just dragged it down to the marsh, in back of our cross-street neighbour: The Masonic Temple. Nowadays, all I have to take down are the wreath on the front door and the Christmas cards on the kitchen wall. I bid them so liong, until next year.

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    1. We stopped doing the real trees when they got so expensive. I remember when we were first married in 1983 and the tree was only $10. The last tree we got was the littlest one on the lot and cost $75. That was the year my inlaws started going to AZ and we started using their tree. When they sold the place in AZ we had to buy one of our own. I managed to find an after Christmas tree on sale for $85 and I had a coupon for 20% off so it was a really good deal….I can see downsizing the decorations in the future but not just yet!

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