Your Holiday Lights Are Still Up
The best planners look ahead with the farsightedness of six months. In the throes of summer, holiday plans are drafted. The family will be together; friends will be in town. The kids will be out of school and work will be suspended. It should be a pleasant time. However, the sequence of explosions that is the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is anything but chill.
It’s a scramble of schedules, trying to get everyone on the same page. This is like trying to force on a pair of jeans that are three sizes too small. They’re already tight at the knees and you keep convincing yourself, every year, that you’ll squeeze into them.
I’ll just pull the zipper up and suck it all in.
If there’s a time in the year when we are reminded how brief twenty-four hours is, this is the span. There isn’t enough time or energy to see everyone and catch up. This gets people upset with you and nothing says “happy new year” like being a fresh persona non grata to a friend.
Your frustration is renewed due to the proximity of the holidays.
Is New Year’s Eve even a holiday?
The clock hit midnight. Now what?
The champagne is downed in a grateful silence and thoughtful uncertainty. This is adulthood. As the music lowers in volume, the dancing people go for water and a seat. The party is over. An anticlimax.
You’re short on sleep, in further credit card debt, a little bit more fat, and not wanting to get back to work. You’re reconsidering your New Year’s resolution because even though it sounds nice, you know deep down that it’s superficial and impossible. It’s just not you.
Maybe next year.
The cherry on top of this holiday hangover is the fact that your Christmas tree is still up and lights are still outlining the exterior of your home or apartment balcony.
The rules are largely unwritten when it comes to the right time to take down the lights. You consider leaving the lights up all year because they look nice.
Those lights, they look nice.
Additionally, they haven’t been out that long. You dragged them out of storage two days before Christmas Eve to have some damned spirit.
Mad respect to people who leave the decor up all year long.
You wish you could be this carefree. But you care too much. You promise yourself this is the last time you decorate for the holidays.
You know what? This is the last time I decorate for the holidays.
The lights are stupid anyway. They personify the greed of commercialized Christmas. You realize you’re the Grinch, happy that Christmas has passed.
You gather all the holiday cards you received and place them in the shoebox your new slippers came in. You smile as you thumb through the pretty photos. You’re shocked by how quickly kids grow up. You think about your childhood. You think about how long the slippers will last.
You’re not expecting any guests soon, so the tree stays. If it’s real, it stays because it still smells nice. It’s not rotting. If it’s fake, it disassembles quickly and you’ll stuff the pieces back in its original box. As for the lights outside, you just stop turning them on at night. You don’t want to be that person. The neighbors talk too much already. No one needs to know that they’re still up. They’ll come down eventually. And they’ll go up again, probably late again.