And it all comes down

There is always a bit of mourning when Christmas ends. The baubles come off the tree, the twinkling lights are taken down, the nutcrackers are boxed away. Every year I consider leaving it all out at least until the New Year, but a large part of me craves our normal schedule and an end to the insanity, not to mention an end to the sweets when I finally gain the bravery to step on a scale and see the results of all those cookies and fudge and caramels and birthday cake and kettle corn. My love for regularity inevitably beats my love for chaos and fudge, and so every year I end up taking down the tree as soon as we are back from our Christmas travels.

And then the house, despite my best efforts at winter decorating, seems suddenly desolate. I go overboard for Christmas, for sure, filling every nook and corner. But part of the problem is there just isn't much to put out on the shelves come winter time. In the Spring I have a seemingly endless supply of pink and girly baubles and fresh flowers and paper flowers. In the Summer I get out my collection of seashells and Zeke brings in his favorite rocks and sticks and the flowers just keep coming, switching to the sturdier summer varieties. Fall has its pumpkins and scarecrows and dried corn and fallen leaves gathered.
In the winter I'm left with...pine cones. And old books, and teacups, and a great collection of beeswax candles that I received for Christmas and thought about doling out over the whole year but in the end set out in one grand display, figuring I could use a little excess during these short, cold days. But it still just doesn't compare with the effect of 3o something little wood soldiers and a freaking TREE in the house.
So this week we wean ourselves off of Christmas. We will finish off the truffles and caramels and candy canes. We will skip chores to build really, really, big train tracks for Thomas to explore. I'll look thru my new hymnal to find songs to replace all the Christmas tunes I've been singing the kids to sleep to. Zeke will go to bed every night hugging his plastic Lightning McQueen to his chest, the special Lightning McQueen cup Santa was good enough to bring by his side (oh yes, we are a bottle-free family now). Malachi will ignore all his toys to chase after Zeke's tricycle, despite being way too small for it.
I suppose it isn't all bad, either. This weekend we will have New Years to celebrate. On the eve we have a party to attend and on the day itself I've got big plans for caramel corn, sparkling apple cider, and playing Wii all day in our pajamas. So its not as if we will be quite to life-as-normal for at least a few more days.
And Zeke and I are both geared up to re-start preschool after our long- since Thanksgiving- winter break. We are doing S is for Snow next week and the paper snowflakes and sock snowmen we're making will in part make up for the lack of Christmas decorations around.

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