Wednesday, 7 January 2009

The second day of Epiphany? (Oh, let's stop...)

Last night, we stripped our lovely tree. Younger daughter couldn't bear it and disappeared upstairs; she had told her special education class that this had been "the best Christmas ever". I sat by the television which was playing Takin' Over the Asylum" (the Resident Fan Boy screwed his courage to the sticking place and set up our new universal DVD player over the holidays), my knees strewn with the surviving icicles from our first married Christmas. We've always sorted them into blue, gold and silver piles, although the gold pile is getting sparse. I averted my eyes as the beautiful bushy balsam was squeezed out the front door. Now it's propped in a snow bank, pretending to be alive, waiting to be taken away by the city next Monday.

Theoretically, we can leave the Christmas decorations up until Candlemas (or, to use its ugly modern moniker Ground Hog Day, Imbolc if you're partial to Pagan), but the tree simply would be heartbreaking at that point. As it is, we may have to take the holly down before Candlemas Eve. Younger daughter's godfather sends it every year from Victoria; it's one of his few remaining pleasurable duties as Alzheimer's besets his fine engineer's mind. The indoor branches have been sucked khaki-green by the heating; and the outdoor branches have been blasted black by freezing rain, wind chills, driving snow and other hallmarks of a winter in Hades.

We will, however, leave the strings of Christmas cards up. Increasingly, cards and the mass-produced, impersonal, and usually unenlightening Christmas letters which some people think are mandatory arrive after Christmas and well into February. So it's official, people, such missives that arrive before February 2nd are not late.

I always thought the sentiment of "wishing it could be Christmas every day" unrealistic, undesirable, and sappy (didn't like the damned song either), but this year, oh, I wish it could. I've watched younger daughter float through this time delightedly, words coming easily to her for the first time in months. It won't be easy watching her spirit get squashed steadily until June.

I managed to post daily for thirteen day straight over Christmas, but I really prefer posting every three days or so. I do plan to try NaBloPoMo in February, a) because it's only 28 days; and b) because I want to see if I can do it. Provided, of course, I don't have to pay for the privilege. The "Terms of Use" thingie isn't that clear...


bonnie-ann black said...

i turned off my christmas tree lights this morning with great sadness. my poor three-foot table top tree has been looking rather desperate since even before christmas day because i put it up for the Lucia party early in december. it tried bravely, but i had to put it out of its misery this morning. over the next few days i'll denude it but leave the candles in the window *at least* until candlemas and maybe longer... i love coming home in the winter to see those little lights in the window, amidst all the darkness.

my younger sister always ran away when it came time to take down the tree. this year she has her own tree for the first time; and she'll have to take it all down. i feel sorry for her, actually, she's a real christmas sprite.

hope YD will feel better in spirit soon.

Jane Henry said...

I hate taking the decs down. Always makes me feel sad.
I think the fact that your daughter thinks this her best Christmas just PROVES what a great mum you are. I hope her spirit isn't too sapped by the school system in the coming months. When she feels low, remind her of this special time.

I didn't know you could keep things up to Candelmas/Imbolc (I used all the Celtic festivals in an alas as yet unpublished fantasy quartet). That will be something to think about next year when I am being inefficient about tidying up!

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Although having Xmas with partner's family was lovely, it WAS weird not seeing Xmas lights etc everywhere - because of course it doesn't get dark in NZ till about 9.45pm at present. Additionally, the Xmas tree didn't really get to make a great show. Sigh. And hearing Xmas songs about winter, snow, fires, dark nights etc and seeing people walking in shorts and t-shirts is frankly bonkers.

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

PS how are you enjoying Takin' Over the Asylum?

Persephone said...

Welcome home, Lisa! I was born in Edmonton, Alberta where white Christmases are the norm, but did a good chunk of my growing up in Victoria, British Columbia, which has a similar climate to Britain's and where a white Christmas is an event (and usually a bit of a catastrophe, because they're just not used to snow out there). However, since Victoria is considerably further to the north than Ottawa, (Victoria is at the 48th longitude; Ottawa is at the 45th longitude;); days are noticeably shorter in the winter and the Christmas lights show up nicely.)
I have no compunction about watching shows illegally if they're are otherwise unavailable, so I've seen Takin' Over the Asylum, as well as Blackpool, on YouTube. It is rather nice to see the former on a reasonably large screen in the comfort of my living room, and I'm looking forward to seeing Blackpool without big chunks taken out to accommodate commercials.