Whatever your total, you deserve a reward, so why not help yourself to that candy cane that will otherwise rot in the kitchen until August?
As for me, I think I did pretty well this year — for me, that is. I am never a role model. Our tree came down the day after New Year's because it was, like Marley in A Christmas Carol, "Dead. Deader than a doornail." We usually let our tree malinger into a desiccated mess well into January because we love it so. (And I hate taking it down.) This year it felt more like an act of mercy.
I untrimmed the mantels in a reasonable timeframe, too, this year. I thought they still looked quite good when I did it, so I'm giving myself extra points for not waiting until they turned brown.
Unless I've missed something (and I always do) the only lingering decorations are intentional. We still have our two wreaths, which we always keep through the early winter to provide a little cheer and faint balsam scent. I figure they'll go out around Valentine's Day; by then, any remaining outdoor wreaths are looking passé, too, so It's Time.
I've still got a bowl filled with glittery gold pinecones on the mantel... but we all know what a sucker I am for pinecones. Heck, I keep a bowlful in the bedroom all year long. My argument is that pinecones are more "winter" than "Christmas." Pinecones are never mentioned in the New Testament or in any carols I can think of. Let's consider them winter gear — like wool socks, cocoa, flannel sheets, and so on.
What else? Holiday greetings are still arriving in the mail, so you can't blame me if those are lying around on my desk. One came yesterday from a dear former colleague. She wrote, "Did I send you a card already? I'm so scattered these days that I can't remember, so here goes..."
You can blame me for the rest of the mess on my desk but I'm not listening. If you don't like it, find me a better desk. That would be any desk with, like, a drawer. My desk is a marble bistro table. I wonder why. But I digress...
As far as candy and cookies, my husband and I did our valiant best to eat it all up but we have far to go. We received quite a lot, see — people have this idea that we like sweets — and then we bought more on sale at Sur la Table. Someone gave us six cannoli from Mike's. My brother gave us a huge box of chocolate-chip cookies that we just tackled tonight. We also still have a few things I'm wary of, including bags of homemade, flavored marshmallows that are green and tan.
On the other hand, I am rationing my Moritz chocolate "Ice Cubes," a gift by nefarious friends. Wrapped in pretty Christmas foil, they were a revelation — where had they been all my life??? They are hazelnut-flavored and unusually soft so they instantly melt in your mouth, which is how they got their name. I am addicted. I knew I had to limit myself to one every couple of days; otherwise I might eat them all in one sitting before I found a place to get more. More more more! (It's looking like Amazon.)
Finally, we still have two little wrapped presents waiting for their recipient to appear. Also beyond my control, although it just occurred to me that I could take them to the Post Office.
So there we are. And how did you do? There are still a few Christmas trees in Back Bay windows. Is that you? Remember, we're supposed to keep Christmas in our hearts all year long. Not in our apartments.