Christmas is so last week. It’s over. Done. Finished.
I mention this only so that those among us who are still decking the halls with bows of limp, brown (or dusty) holly; have Christmas trees now leaning drunkenly, off-kilter, and tired; or keep spinning that one and only Chipmunks Christmas CD, that it is safe, necessary even, to take them down.
Have to move on. Get them out. Move on. Honestly, the way retail jumps the gun on holidays, you can replace them with something more appropriate, say, Valentine’s Day, Easter, or July 4th décor if you feel a void.
Really, toss (or box) that tree and put a nice cupid with a basket of fireworks in its place.
By now the giant inflatable holiday characters – the Santas, the snowmen, the grinches and the like have, for the most part, deflated in puddles all over the lawns.
The outdoor lights have begun to sag. The real deer have begun to actively threaten the fake, pre-lit deer.
The Grinch has stolen Christmas and been redeemed infinite times and Jimmy Stewart has sailed off into another Wonderful Life haze.
Take the hint. This is our collective cue that it is time, really, to pack it in. Yes, dear friends, it is time to store the nativity so artfully created by lashing the characters to a sheet of lattice with duct tape – creating a heartwarming scene reminiscent of the Holy family having been taken hostage in a garden center.
No, all love of the sparkle and splendor aside, it really is time to dismantle candy cane lane.
Remove “Santa stops here” signage, and eradicate virtually anything resembling or remotely suggesting reindeer of any kind – flying or otherwise.
Doing their part. Fortunately, our nation’s retailers – selfless as ever – have stepped up to provide no end to the available holiday goods.
In fact, Santa’s sleigh had scarcely touched down from the North Pole commute when store employees across the land pulled down the Christmas décor, candy, and baking displays and replaced them with sparkling wine, 47 varieties of cheese ball, and party poppers in anticipation of New Year’s Eve.
Less than a week later would see the annual debut of storage bins and exercise equipment – complete with talking scales, weight charts and assorted flotsam and jetsam of our collective national resolve to get in shape and get organized – if only for a week.
Valentine’s Day. Just as your dietary resolve begins to tremble, you can avail yourself of aisles and bins of bright red valentines, chocolates as big as your head, hearts and flowers, candy and stuffed toys.
In search of that loving feeling, you can hang a lit heart, bedeck your halls in red ribbon, and pop on a CD of “classic love melodies” (and I’m sure, if you are a purist, that the Chipmunks offer one).
Need we mention that by the time Feb. 14 actually rolls around the valentine merchandise will share space with the Easter bunny, sometimes going rabbit foot to elbow in the same aisle for good measure?
Bunny time. Come Easter (or, to be honest, my mid-February) you can really shine. The selection of baskets, ornaments, egg trees, and lawn décor almost rivals that of Christmas.
At the very least, perhaps, you might score a bevy of those inflatable bunnies so often seen hanging from yard trees like particularly cheery lynching victims.
Call me the Grinch that stole procrastination, but yes, I am truly bah-hum-bugged by holiday displays a month past their prime.
My heart goes out to those who truly cannot make it up the ladder, down into storage, or wherever and whatever it takes to remove the last of the holiday finery.
Turn those lights off. That said, at the very least, if you can’t pack it all in, at least turn it OFF. Surely there is no call for the big Santa atop your roof in February to call attention to himself.
At least not until you get that Easter Bunny up there to keep him company.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt is ruthless when it comes to packing up the ornaments on New Year’s Day. She welcomes comments c/o P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)