We took our tree down on New Year’s Day. It was a Saturday and my brother was visiting, so we chatted with him the whole time we were dismantling the spray-painted macaroni ornaments and star garlands, and maybe for a minute or two might have fooled ourselves into thinking we weren’t doing what we were doing. What is it that is so depressing about taking down the tree? Is it because all you can think of while you are doing it is the seemingly short time ago that you were erecting it, hot chocolates on the table, Frank Sinatra crooning carols on the iPod, a whole glorious week of vacation ahead of you? But arguably, I think what can be more depressing than dismantling the tree is not dismantling it. In my mind, a tree up past January 1 is like having ice pops for dessert on a ski trip: sad and wrong.
We are a bit less ruthless in our disposal of holiday cards — mostly because it is hard for me to come to terms with the fact that the discarded photographs of my friends’ children are sitting in the recycling bin with a broken down box of Trader Joe’s Multigrain Pancake Mix. So the cards get a stay of execution for a little while and take on a new life in the form of these “skewer puppets.” The girls and I cut out silhouettes of a few kids (and pets if we’re lucky) then tape a wooden skewer (popsicle sticks work, too) to the back so the sharp point is covered with tape. Then the girls get to put on a puppet show with some old and new friends — like the children of our college pals who they’ve never met and who may be shocked by the sight of their butchered up cards. Sorry Brian and Beth!
(P.S. Remember Christina’s cool annual ritual? She turned cut-up holiday cards into placemats.)