Growing up, there was a hard and fast rule in my house: You could not start a new year with an old tree. New Year’s Eve day, therefore, was usually spent cleaning up, putting Christmas away, and getting everything tidy for the new year.
I hated this as a kid. Packing away the holidays for another 365 days was just awful. I couldn’t understand my parents’s glee as they tossed our trees over the embankment into the brush pile in the backyard. To my sister and I, New Year’s Eve was the saddest day of the year.
Well. How things change.
A few days ago I finally got fed up with looking at the Christmas tree, barren of presents, a litter of needles encircling it, and stripped it of it’s ornaments and lights. Poor Jasper was literally just recovering from a nasty (and poorly timed) bout of strep throat, but I made him drag that tree up to the burn pile with me anyway. Then I packed away the rest of the decorations and dusted my hands of 2016.
There was just something about this year. Maybe it was the fact that we’re in a place of transition in our lives and our home, but Christmas this year just didn’t feel that merry. It felt more like a chore, really, to be celebrated for the sake of the kids; to be endured so that we could be on our way toward a new year, a new spring, and a new start.
As for today, I’m going to spend it cleaning. 2017 is just a few hours away, and I’m looking forward to it, whatever it holds.
Happy New Year.