The Annual Ritual

3 mins read

By Lee Scott

In early January, there is a ritual performed in many homes. It is the dismantling of all the Christmas decorations. Time to pack up the nativity scenes, the Department 56 villages, and all the ornaments. Although some families plan the ritual for New Year’s Day, many wait until the live tree pickup is scheduled in their community. Others wait until the Feast of the Epiphany, which comes around the 12th day of Christmas.

For us, Jan. 1 marks the day when the plastic bins are removed from the attic and we slowly put all our decorations away. Or at least we think we do. We carefully go through each room to make sure we have scooped up things like the Christmas towels, the Santa mugs, and the Christmas candles. 

But it always happens, just as the last of the Christmas bins are stored in the attic, and we are sitting down to enjoy a holiday drink, congratulating ourselves on the quick clean up, we spot something. This year it was the Santa flag in the front yard. One year it was the Christmas wreath on the front door, and last year, it was the stuffed green Grinch sitting high in the bookcase. It was up there because our dog thought it was her toy. 

“How could we have missed that Santa flag?,” we asked ourselves this year. 

We are always so sure that everything is packed.

But we are not the only ones with this problem. It seems like everyone does it, and my sister Maureen had the best story. It happened years ago when her kids were young. She had packed up everything, vacuumed, and was satisfied that Christmas was officially over. That night when she was tucking her daughter into bed, she found the Baby Jesus in his manger on the nightstand next to her daughter’s bed.

“Why is Baby Jesus in your room?,” she asked.

“I was afraid he would get lonely,” was the response.

Maureen grabbed the Baby Jesus and debated as to what to do with the statue. Fearing she would put it in a safe placed and lose it, she decided to put it up in the cabinet with the spices. When her husband spotted it, he asked, “Why is Baby Jesus next to the salt and pepper?”

“I wanted to make sure I knew exactly where he was next Christmas. Besides, it wouldn’t hurt us to say hi to Baby Jesus every morning,” she told him.

So, when you find your last decoration after “everything” has been put away, relax, we all do it. Just put it with the ceramic pumpkin you left out at Halloween.

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