The Clean-up

The Ukrainians celebrate Christmas this year on January 7th. They have it right: They wait until everything goes on sale. You can have quite the Christmas if you play your cards right, like, being dealt a hand where you are born a Ukrainian.

One year I left my Christmas tree up until February 1st. We had been away in Europe for the month of December, arrived home on January 3rd and felt as though we didn’t really have a proper Christmas. So we went down to storage and dug out the Christmas tree. We spent the day decorating, listening to Christmas music and cooking an elaborate dinner for two.

I don’t understand the people who are in a hurry to end the holiday season. Some people begin their Christmas clean up right after the New Year, sometimes even on New Years Day. They are likely the type of people who don’t actually enjoy Christmas. They only put up Christmas décor to be classified as “normal”, and feel bitter about the subsequent clean up: they haphazardly throw ornaments into a box; shove lights into a plastic shopping bag, and lob their decrepit tree off the balcony. They think about how they didn’t get anything on their wish list, their family doesn’t understand them at all, and how they should have gone to Cabo with their “boyfriend”, who is really just a friend.

Normal people have difficulties saying goodbye to another Christmas season, so they tend to wait a bit longer. They want to stare at the twinkling lights for a few extra days, or a few weeks, and reminisce. They find it difficult when they notice that the Christmas décor in the stores has been replaced with Valentine’s paraphernalia. They find it difficult when the Christmas programming stops airing on television, the Holiday tunes on the radio are interrupted with Top 40 idiocy; and when they look at the calendar and realize that they have to return to work on Monday.

So they listen to Christmas music quietly on their ipod, while happily buying up all the discounted chocolate, LED lights, and ornaments. They smile because no one knows that their Christmas tree is still twinkling at home, and will be well into the month of March. They smile because they have a turkey in the oven.

Besides, the actual date of Christ’s birth (you know, the whole reason we celebrate Christmas) is unknown. In approximately 336 AD the Roman Church recorded a nativity celebration by Western Christians on December 25th, so that date became widely accepted as Christmas, or Mass of the Christ. However, no one can say definitively whether or not Christ was born on that day.

So, why not extend the Christmas season by a few weeks, just to cover your bases? The twinkling lights are therapeutic, and the long January nights don’t seem so bleak. The Christmas season makes you feel good, and warm, and sentimental, if you’re normal.

And why would you ever want that feeling to end?

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