A 2008 Best of Holidailies Selection. Thanks, Holidailies Reviewers!

Just as plastic trees become objects of wonder just as they’re bedecked with fairy lights and ornaments, Christmas decorations, in general, become unmagical as soon as the Christmas season is over.

For some, this change happens around the 6th of January – Epiphany, the 12th Day of Christmas. For others – me included – it happens between 11:59 PM on New Year’s Eve, and the first light of New Year’s Day.

Like a tired party girl dragging herself home after a late night, make-up smeared, stockings in runs, shoes with impossibly high heels carried in one hand rather than being worn, decorations left up on New Year’s Day seem somehow cheap and tawdry.

Oh, the silver and gold are just as shiny as ever, but once the season passes, the shine becomes tacky, rather than tasteful. The bright reds and greens seem overdone, somehow, and the scent of pine and gingerbread becomes cloying.

While I’ve been ready to move beyond Christmas for several days now – despite my love of the season – I’ve resisted, because I know all too well how little time we get to enjoy the Yuletide magic every year. I will miss red and green candles, but I’m looking forward to the freshness of cream and pale gold tones. In my head, I catch whiffs of pear and vanilla, two of the “clean” scents that mean the new year to me.

Tonight, I will put on party clothes and drink to health and prosperity; tomorrow, I will box away my Christmas treasures for another year, in clean white tissue. When I am done, the house will feel too big for a few days, but then things will settle, and I will enjoy brisk mornings with oatmeal and coffee, and chilly evenings with stews and rented DVDs – the pleasures of winter without the stress of the holidays are so restful.

To those of you who are going out tonight, please be careful. Have fun, just be judicious about it. To those of you staying in, enjoy the comfort of home. To everyone reading this: May you have a peaceful and prosperous New Year.