How sad the wilted fraser fir looks. It spent years in a field of like kind, was chopped down at ten feet, traveled down a winding mountain road, where my husband claimed it and carried it home. We decorated it with enthusiasm and it was the center piece of our holiday adornments. Now it is on its side out in the yard, discarded. Don’t look again, I warn myself.

I have spent the day undecorating. The glittering lights must be removed from the shrubs, the wreaths from the windows, the timers unplugged and put away. The mantle is bare, its swag of greenery, lights and golden clusters of grapes has been removed. White haired santas and nutcrackers in various sizes and costumes are waiting in line for their turn at tissue paper swaddling and careful storage in giant containers.

What will happen in my life before I see them again? How many more Christmasses do we have left to share? This is the sort of thing I think about as I put them to bed. I suppose it is melancholy. Maybe it’s too much champagne last night or too many dishes to clean this morning. It seems like I have just gotten comfortable with the slow enjoyment of the festive decorations; just finished with the crazy, busy shopping, wrapping, and cooking. I could just turn out the lamps and be soothed by the warm glow emanating from the tree lights. But no more. At least for several months.

I also cleaned out the fridge today. Leftover fudge, truffles and cookies have been thrown out. Tradition dictates a southern table for New Year’s Day that includes black eyed peas, cabbage or collards, and pork. They are supposed to represent health, wealth and happiness. Not wanting to upset my ancestors and not wanting to eat that particular meal, I made Chinese with finely shredded cabbage, celery, onions, chicken and water chestnuts turned into spring rolls with the aid of leftover fillo dough that I made the Napoleons with. And I made stir fried rice with ham, peas, and various other vegetables. So, I feel we ate the required food groups, though not in the traditional method. If 2011 doesn’t look favorably upon us, it will be due to this switch in New Year’s fare!

I haven’t decided on my resolutions (wish-o_lutions) yet. I need a little reflective time to ponder exactly what I want from this year. Specificity comes from clear heads and mine is foggy with nostalgia and too little sleep. Maybe the cobwebs of my brain will disappear along with the clutches of needles dropped from the tree as we carried it out of the house. I just hope I won’t have to see it collapsed on the lawn again.

Happy New Year!

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