Christine here. Other people go out to dinner on Valentine’s Day. Other people stare lovingly into their husband’s eyes while eating a luscious chocolate dessert. Other people listen to romantic songs by Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. Other people exchange gifts.
What did my family do for Valentine’s Day? We took down the Christmas tree. Even my daughter commented: “it’s never been this bad before, Mom.”
There are several problems with taking down the Christmas tree. First and foremost, my husband loves Christmas, turning on the Christmas lights, taking films of the kids opening presents, the confused but excited dogs jumping through the shredded Christmas paper, and the lights on all the houses. He watches videos of Christmases when the kids were younger, looks at all the old Christmas photos from when his parents were still alive, and from when he was just a boy.
Then, there’s the sibling parity problem that prevents action on taking down Christmas. If Katie’s away for the weekend or stuck studying for an exam, Jack won’t do any work because he perceives her as having gotten out of work and it’s NOT FAIR. Ditto for Katie regarding Jack.
I certainly could take down Christmas by myself – which I would like to do much earlier, because all the decorations hamper my ability to spread out and braid – but I think of the take-down as a Family Activity that we do Together.
About January 1, I start lobbying for taking things down. My husband says, “Oh, let’s just leave things up awhile longer. The lights are so pretty.” This continues, and continues, and continues. Finally, at some point, I crack. This year, it happened on Valentine’s Day.
After yelling at both kids (made worse by my son rolling his eyes at me which usually escalates my volume), we finally got the decorations packed neatly away, the tree disassembled, everything fragile bubble-wrapped, the furniture rearranged, the wreaths discarded, the pine needles swept up, a non-Christmas tablecloth put out on the table, and Christmas boxes packed neatly away on the shelving in the basement. Sigh of relief.
After that, I was finally able to restore the dining room table to its original purpose: spreading out a braided rug in progress to work on.
And yes, my husband did give me a small box of luscious chocolates, after which I promptly grossed out the children by kissing him in public. And yes, the red bearded cat-talker is still around: from back at college, he skypes with the cats in his Yoda voice.