“The Muppet Christmas Carol” features of the most depressing moments in all of cinematic history. It’s when the warm and rosy Ghost of Christmas Present grays and fades. And you know what’s coming next. The long-fingered Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come in all of his hooded creepiness. There are many Christmas Carol adaptations. But this message is most haunting coming at you from the Muppets.
From my first memories, the pit in my stomach fills with melancholy as Christmas Present slips away. It’s the passage of time that saddens me. The unknown of the year ahead that worries me.
It’s most palpable when it’s time to take down the Christmas tree and other decorations. As with other home styling, the process of decorating for Christmas is deeply contemplative and joyful for me. Especially when I challenge myself to find creative ways to view cherished objects in a new light. Like the Ghost of Christmas Present, my Christmas home is warm and familiar, yet somehow shiny new.
But come January 2 when Christmas Yet-to-Come points his bony finger toward the storage bins … SADNESS. And like any good Enneagram 4, my melancholy can easily slide into paralysis. So I’ve learned to make myself do it without feeling. I become an un-decorating robot.
That gets the job done. But I’m sure it’s not the best way when I have to shut down half my heart to do it.
So this year, I want the clearing out to hold as much meaning as the filling in. I want to fully feel the passage of time. To contemplate what this seasonal movement means for my family and how our home environment should complement it.
I forced myself to make a list (instead charging ahead with the idea spark per usual). Maybe you’ll find this plan to a New Year by Design helpful, too:
Bring out all holiday décor storage bins and boxes
Clear off and take down all Christmas/holiday décor
Pack/organize the bins as I go instead of piling it all on the counter to put away later
Dust each new bare spot
Vacuum the floor around the dusted bare spots
Fix a coffee/tea/sparkling water/who-am-I-kidding-Diet Coke, grab a notebook then sit somewhere with a good view of the new emptiness
Sit in the emptiness while sipping
Feel what I feel
Write about how I feel
Allow those spaces to remain clear for at least 48 hours instead of frantically filling them with other pretty things
When ready, style the empty spaces again but with reserve. Keep them open, airy and uncluttered
It really bugs me that the list ends at ugly 11. But I’m letting go.
In this new take on Christmas un-decorating, the holidays’ jolly excess becomes winter’s purposed spare. Clearing my home clears my head. I win this particular battle over analysis-paralysis.
I consider the year ahead and feel my heart open to it. More thankful/less sad to say goodbye for now to Christmas Present. Less anxious/more hopeful for Christmas-Yet-to-Come.