(Not sure why this post didn't go up on Friday night. Sorry for the delay...)
I think that the hardest part of the Holidays is taking down the decorations. Not so much due to any real work involved. I mean... there is work involved in hauling boxes and packing things up and cleaning up after yourself - because even a fake tree leaves behind needles - but that part isn't really so difficult to me.
The hard part is compartmentalizing it all for another year. It's the act of putting away all of the cards that have come in and reminded us that we've got friends near and far who are thinking about us. It's putting away the decorations that we only see for about 5 weeks every year.
And, worst of all in my opinion, it's taking the lights off the tree and putting them all away.
The first night after we take the tree down, there always seems to be a void in the room where it used to be. It's amazing how quickly we get used to having it there. And it's always surprising how much we've grown to enjoy the light it gives off.
When I'm the last one up, I find myself leaving the tree lights on as I turn off everything else in the room before bed. The main lights get turned off. The other Christmas lights go dark. And all I'm left with is the light from the tree. There are all of the shadows cast by the branches, but the light from the tree is always brighter than I expect.
Either tonight or tomorrow night will be the last night for the tree this year. The lights will come down, and it'll all be packed away until next year. By the time the weekend is over we'll be adjusting to the empty corner of the living room, and I'll go back to stumbling over the pup's toys as I make my way through the room after turning out the lights.
And I'll look forward to that time just after Thanksgiving when I can dig it all back out and start all over again. I guess that comes with the Holiday territory