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Still hooked on Christmas

The Christmas holidays are over and the tree, Santa and all the associated decorations are packed away — almost.

In many ways packing up Christmas is very similar to making New Year’s resolutions. My intentions are good, but things never seem to work out exactly as planned.

Last week, my wife and I bit the bullet and started to take down the Christmas decorations. Now to say we have an abundance of decorations would be like saying Colonel Sanders has some chicken. Each year when we get out the decorations, my wife decides this year’s “theme and color scheme.” I on the other hand make an attempt to reduce our decorative inventory. We easily have enough “stuff” to decorate two homes with enough left over for a good sized lawn building.

Every year I strongly suggest that we eliminate things we no longer use or decorations that may be out of date or out of style. While my wife always agrees with my pleas, I am starting to believe that it is the only time during our marriage that she purposefully lies to me.

Each year it seems as if instead of reducing our decorations, some new ones always show up. Either she is adding a few things each year or the decorations are having sex and multiplying while stored in the attic.

Finally after an intense two days of “un-decorating,” it seemed as if everything was down and packed. The special collector ornaments were back in their protective individual boxes which were then stored and marked in special heavy duty boxes. Strings of lights were removed and double-checked so they would be ready to go when plugged in next year. With a collection of boxes stacked outside the attic door and a bare Christmas tree standing in the corner of our family room waiting to be disassembled and bagged, it seemed as if we were done.

The only thing left to do was to run the vacuum cleaner — and then it started to happen.

First, we spotted a few clear crystal ornaments that we had overlooked hidden deep inside the tree. Next, we discovered two shiny red balls that somehow must have fallen and rolled under the couch. Suddenly, we found a small reindeer hiding on the bookcase and a snowman that somehow got wedged down beside the chair cushion. I think that one we can blame on the dog.

We kept finding small things we had overlooked until soon we filled a box marked “miscellaneous.” So much for being organized.

Finally, just when I thought we were done, I spotted the first of many objects I knew we would be finding for the next three months — those little green wire hooks that you use to hang your ornaments on the tree.

It seems as if each year we buy at least one box of those things, and I swear there must be 500 hooks in a box. Over my lifetime, I know I must have bought at least 20 pounds of those tiny hooks.

You can’t hang an ornament on the tree without one of these little hooks, and so it stands to reason that every ornament on the tree has a hook. When we take the ornament off of the tree and place it in the storage box I always double-check that the hook is attached. The logic being that next year when I remove an ornament from the box, it will be ready to hang. Simple, makes sense. I do that every year, but every year after everything is packed away, these little green hooks start to show up.

Now if I found them in the areas that the tree stood it might make a little sense, but once the holidays are over, they start to show up at random. They are like deer ticks; they are everywhere. They must have tiny little legs because yesterday I found one on the kitchen counter. For the next several weeks, I will be disassembling my vacuum cleaner and pulling those little buggers out of the brushes.

There is an old saying about the opera that goes, “It ain’t over until the fat lady sings.” In the case of Christmas, it is not over until you stop finding those little green hooks. Based on past experience, that should be about mid-March.

John Kasun writes from his undecorated home in Duncansville, where he spends his spare time picking those pesky little green hooks from the carpet.

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