It's time to say goodbye til next year!
Hands up anyone who LOVES their Christmas tree? Meee!! It's so pretty - especially with the sparkly lights at night. But this week - the week before I go back to work - is my frenzied decluttering week. And, packing away the festive decorations is like my official way of kicking off the decluttering season.
Firstly, I pack away the tinsel and decorations, throwing out anything that is broken or worn out (some of these - including the tree - are over 20 years old!). Then the lights are carefully removed, wound up and packed away and then my tree - which feels like an old friend - is packed away.
I'm quite sentimental about the tree and Christmas in general. I had an idyllic childhood and my mum - who has since passed away - loved Christmas too, so perhaps it's a genetic thing (that's a convenient excuse which I'm sticking to!). In fact she still put out Santa presents well into our adulthood. Christmas is a time that I feel her presence quite strongly. It's also a time that I feel her loss more deeply, but by sharing our love for Christmas with my own children feels like a lovely way to honour her memory and to incorporate stories about her into their lives.
An aside: here's a funny story about getting Santa gifts as an adult (which may or may not have been embellished slightly?!?!) that has become part of our family folklore. I intercepted my younger brother coming home crying from school one day. He said someone had told him that Santa wasn't real and asked if it was true. I paused, carefully weighing up what to say. I figured he was pretty much old enough to be told and most of his peers had found out the truth, so I said to him: yes, it's true....Santa isn't real. But don't let mum know that you know, or we'll only get one lot of presents each year instead of two.
A few years later, my dad pulled me aside as said, "surely your brother doesn't still believe in Santa?". I paused, carefully weighing up what to say. Eventually, I said: yes it's true. He doesn't believe in Santa and hasn't for a while. But don't let mum know that he knows or we'll only get one lot of gifts instead of two!
Mum continued giving us Santa gifts a long time after that, so it made no difference whether we all knew or not!
Anyhoo - back to decluttering....
After the tree is packed away, I collect any other decorations and put them away too. I don't go overboard with decorations throughout the house. I just think that they're A) a bit of a waste of money and B) I just couldn't be bothered finding places to store them all and C) it's just more plastic and stuff that the world just doesn't need!
Then I pop all Xmas cards in the recycling along with as much wrapping paper and packaging that I can. I hate all the plastic that also comes with packaged goods and as I have kids, there are always toys involved (more plastic) which makes me feel not so great about!
Once I'm done with packing Xmas things, I move on to deep decluttering of my entire house, starting with my kids' rooms (I'll post about this next week), then our room, the bathroom, kitchen etc etc.
But for now, Christmas is officially over and even though the tree and other decorations are exactly 'clutter', they're all packed away for another year and psychologically, I'm readying myself for the year ahead.
What's you new year traditions and how do you prepare yourself and your family for the coming months?
Tips to store your decorations
Use clear tubs so you can see what's in each box. Howard's Storage, Kmart or Target have some great options
Buy or print out some labels so you can quickly read what's inside.
Stack them and store them somewhere safe from the elements and moisture (and if possible, dust)