As I explained in this December 2013 post, our family usually decorates for Christmas on the first full weekend in December. We then put our decorations away sometime between Christmas and New Year Day.
My reasoning behind this is simple. Part of the reason Christmas is special to us is the rarity of the festivities. The longer the celebration stretches out, the more common and less special the season becomes. It can be like having too much of a good thing.
Thus, this year we decorated on December 6 (a traditional Christian feast day) and put our decorations away on December 27, exactly three weeks later. This may mark the shortest span our family has maintained its seasonal Christmas decorations. But it was fine for us.
As a side note, I don't particularly begrudge others keeping their decorations up longer. They will do what suits them. I'm just glad I'm not them.
On Saturday I was happy when the un-decorating chore was done. The task usually takes about three hours and it's more work than one might think. Before stowing the final box in the storage room, I checked to see if we had left any stray decorations up. I didn't find anything, but that doesn't mean there isn't a Christmas decoration lurking somewhere in plain sight.
It seems that no matter how thorough we think we've been at putting our decorations away, we almost always later find at least one Christmas decoration that has escaped our attention. Several times it has been the whole nativity set, occupying an honored place behind the glass doors of the family room cabinet. Last year it was a rather large plaque reminding that the wise still seek Christ.
I have noticed that when we eventually notice the Christmas item we have somehow failed to put away, we are often in no hurry to properly store it. Last year the plaque remained in a prominent place on the wall of a high use area well into the summer months.
One year we failed to put the nativity set away until after the following Christmas. A snowman mug that was set on top of the piano one Christmas somehow ended up being used as a pencil holder. It has remained in it's spot on the piano for years.
Why do we leave these decorations up so long after realizing that they weren't put away along with the other Christmas decor? It just might be that, although we are not fond of leaving our Christmas decorations up for long periods, we actually do subconsciously enjoy being reminded of the Christmas season throughout the year. Is that such a bad thing?
Though Christmas is past for this season, may a spark of the season's joy remain in your heart throughout the year.