Note the missing bell. Now there are two. And someone thinks it's hilarious.
It's not the holiday. It's not the Christian symbolism. It's not the crass commercialism. It's certainly not the other heathen aspects — those are my favorite by a landslide. It's the damn pine needles. They're everywhere.
We took our decorations down over the weekend. It took many, many hours and a lot of labor. My husband sawed the tree in half to make it easier to carry to the alley for pickup this morning. But it left roughly a million needles behind and I've been sweeping and vacuuming them up ever since. They materialize out of nowhere on the clean floor even when the cats, who are natural pine-needle magnets, aren't around.
This is the time of year when I always wonder why on earth we cut down trees, bring them into our homes and cover them with lights and fragile cat toys. It makes no sense at all. It's cool, it's pretty, but it's just... crazy. What must the rest of the world think of us? It makes a celebration like Holi seem positively civilized.
It's always a small miracle that we manage to get all the decorations, wrapping paper, bows, and so on packed into boxes that fit into our small crawlspace. This is especially true since I buy more of this stuff each year. And then, of course, we had to find spots for all of our presents. This year, a lot of them were edible or gift cards, so that helped.
Now, looking at the apartment, I can hardly tell that Christmas came and went, except for the pinecone wreath, which will hang around for another month or so, and a few stray items that still need homes or repairs. Someone chewed two jingle bells off the little Fa La La La La pillow; someone stole my beloved, tiny, 1950's Christmas corsage and dismembered it. I thought I had stuck it in a safe place on the mantel. Ha. I will never learn. I found its components over three or four days under the tree and around the living room. I think I have all of them but my husband stepped on a couple, so I'll be looking for replacements on Etsy.
I love Christmas, but I sort of love having our place back to normal, too. I mean, we had a 9-1/2-foot-tall balsam fir in our living room. Now I'll be at war with pine needles into the summer. What the heck?