Ah, January already. The holiday season comes and goes as fast as a rollercoaster, with the various icons and yearly events whizzing by so fast that it is hard to enjoy them. After the BIG DAY, there is (hopefully) the brief respite, a few days of peace and contentment, when the housework slides, cooking is unnecessary thanks to the fridge full of leftovers and platters of cookies, and there is time to watch the movies that were this year's additions to the collection.
But too soon, too soon, it is time to take up our usual routine, go back to work, send the kids back to school, clean out the fridge (what did this used to be, I wonder?) and buy fresh groceries. The half empty rolls of wrapping paper are gathered up and stashed for next year, the turkey platter is back in it's place in the drawer at the bottom of the stove, ready for Easter.
And now, the part I always put off till last. Time to take down the tree. I like to wait until I'm alone in the house, so I can linger over each item, wrap it lovingly in tissue to store securely in its plastic box. The garlands are getting shabby, they will be replaced next year. I pause to dangle the "Baby's First Christmas" ball in front of my unseeing eyes. I'm seeing a beautiful baby girl, now in her twenties, entranced by the coloured lights and jingle bells, just as I was when I was a child.
I remember a favourite decoration from my childhood Christmas trees. It was a set of mirrored balls, each a different colour. I liked the silver one best, which looked for all the world like a miniature disco ball. Long before there was such a thing, of course. I loved how it would spin on its little string, reflecting the lights and casting splashes of rainbow on the walls and on my face, like a visible expression of the child's wonder of Christmas, that tickly sensation in my tummy that was "the Christmas feeling".
My own children have their own favourite ornaments. A few years ago, I was considering whether or not it was time to get rid of all the cheap, dollar-shop decorations from years gone by and upgrade to classier, more elegant designs. There was loud protests over that proposal! Although they were just cheap, gawdy little baubles, with worn paint, faded ribbons and showing their age, with plenty of chips, nicks and scratches, to my children they were favourite memories, and a connection to their own childhood Christmases, just as the disco ball was to mine. I could not take that away from them.
So here I go again, packing up the memories, our family treasures, and lovingly storing them away to be brought out and marvelled at another year. I don't know what this year will bring, but it will probably bring good and bad, ups and downs, sad times and glad. And next December when I dig up our treasures again, I will enjoy once more the trip down memory lane, which is decorated in red and green. I'm looking forward to next Christmas!