Hauling out the evergreen, lights and ornaments seemed to take an entire evening. I put some Christmas music on, made a couple drinks, and my brother and sister-in-law were here to help out. In contrast, putting it away will be done in mere minutes, by myself, and I'll most likely have ESPN's NFL Countdown on in the background.
I'll continue to let the outdoor lights suck electricity through New Year's Day, but not a day longer, even though they'll probably have to remain on the bushes until Memorial Day since they are now buried under a foot of snow. Inevitably, there are always a few morons that leave those suckers plugged in until February or later, because after all, "They look so pretty, and the LCD lights were quite an investment." Honestly people, just because they're stuck to the arborvitae doesn't mean you need to turn them on! They're Christmas lights, not Valentine's Day lights, or Groundhog Day lights, and even though I think I deserve fancy lights and fireworks, they're not Mother's Day lights either.
So here's my request for January that will bring everyone, especially me, some post-holiday cheer: When you are done eradicating all traces of the holidays from the interior of your house, have thrown out the last cookie, found the time to exchange the ill-fitting sweater, and have mailed the last "I'm so sorry I got so drunk on Christmas Eve again, I never meant to say those things" letter, take a moment to stand in your driveway and look at your house. I mean, really look at your house. The greenish/brownish wreath with the red bow that's been askew from day one? Chuck it. The plastic snowman that got his face punched in by crazy Uncle Bruce? Put it in storage. The illuminated candy canes, the three wise men, the North Pole sign, the gingerbread man, the holiday train, and yes, even Santa Claus; put them all away. Oh, and see that orange extension cord, attached to that timer, which is attached to your house? Reach down, firmly grasp the cord, and with a much appreciated tug, pull the plug.