Putting Away Christmas

Putting Away Christmas

It sometimes feels like the end, but it's not.
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It's probably the worst time of the year for those of us who love Christmastime. At least in the days immediately following December 25th, it's still socially acceptable to listen to your favorite Christmas carols, keep your Christmas lights plugged in, and enjoy your tree and decorations.

But, sometime after New Years, the day inevitably comes when the celebration of the Christmas season must give way to the next one. Whether you throw your tree out promptly on January 1st, wait for the official changing of the Christian liturgical season at Epiphany (January 6th), or just take everything down when you have time, there's a definite sadness that accompanies the un-decorating process.

First, there's the sheer amount of work involved in taking everything down and packing it away for next year. It takes time and effort to locate every tiny ornament hidden in the boughs of your Christmas tree, tenderly wrap each fragile figurine in a Nativity set, and untangle the many strands of lights that illuminated your yard all December. We spend hours putting everything away, not to mention vacuuming tree needles and glitter off of the rug.

Once everything is safely stored in the basement or garage, of course, it's guaranteed that we'll find one last decoration that we completely forgot about, meaning that we have to somehow make space for it in one of the already-overstuffed boxes of ornaments and tinsel and lights. It can all be pretty overwhelming.

Christmas teardown is also a reminder of just how much stuff we accumulate, and just how little of it we really need or care about. Now is probably a good time to get rid of some of it so that we'll have less to store, put up, and take down next year, but often in our mourning for the ending of the Christmas season, we find it difficult to part with almost anything. We make mental pacts with ourselves not to buy any more decorations next year, but then immediately break our resolutions when we see the cute little nutcracker ornaments on a great sale a week after Christmas, or when all the new decor begins to appear in stores the following October.

And of course, there's the essential fact that putting away Christmas decorations means the ending of one of the most beautiful, festive, and happy times of the entire year. The decorations in the stores and around town gradually disappear, the number of family gatherings and parties on our calendars begins to dwindle, school and work resume as vacations end. Everyone and everything just seems a bit less jolly as the bleak wintry weather of January sets in.

But even in the face of a long winter devoid of Christmas cheer, there's still hope. There's hope for exciting holidays ahead, like sweet, romantic Valentine's Day or joyous Easter Sunday. There's hope for changes in weather, like potential snowfall and the eventual coming of spring, when the earth will finally come back to life in flowers and birds and trees and EVERYTHING. And for those who celebrate the coming of Christ at Christmas, there's the promise that Immanuel, the presence of God With Us, doesn't go away even when we've put away our manger scenes and stopped listening to O Holy Night.

Before we know it, Christmas will be just around the corner once again, and we'll get to enjoy our favorite holiday traditions and celebrations sooner than we think. Even though lovers of Christmas will never not struggle when Christmastime comes to an end, we can take comfort in the fact that the cycle of the seasons continues, bringing so many other things to enjoy until Christmas comes again.

Cover Image Credit: Olivia Corso

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An Open Letter To Every Athlete On Their Senior Night

"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened"
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Dear Seniors,

For many of you, today was a day that you had always wished would come sooner, only to find that when the day arrived wishing for it to come was the last thing you truly ever wanted.

When stepping out onto the court or field or rink for the very last time today, take a moment to stand quietly and look out into the crowd, look to your teammates, to your coaches, and to your fellow seniors, and remember the way this made you feel, as this is a feeling you will remember for the rest of your life.

Today and every day moving forward will be filled with memories that will last you a lifetime.

Today is a day bound to be filled with endless amounts of tears, both happy and sad, so let it be. Let these feelings consume you, and serve as a reminder that no matter where you may go in life from this very moment, that you have made a family of your own. That you have changed the lives of others by just simply being in theirs.

That all the little things were really the big things, like the nicknames you had for your teammates, or your favorite song to sing in the locker room before a game. These things that never seemed to mean anything at the time are all the things that you will carry with you when you leave this place you call your home away from home.

On this day, years from now you will not remember the wins and losses of each season, but the people that took this journey with you and never let you look back.

The teammates that picked you up and carried you through the good and the bad of each day. The ones that taught you to see the good in all things. The ones who never let you live down the stupid things you did, mainly because they did them with you. And even the ones that you couldn't stand 99.9% percent of the time.

You will remember the coaches that pushed you and never let you give up.

You will remember all the times they yelled and made you run until you couldn't walk. The times that they depended on you to be the leaders we all knew you could be. But more than any of that, you will remember the opportunity they gave you to play the game you learned to love, the game that changed your life, the game that taught you more lessons about life, love and dedication than anything ever could.

On this day I ask you to remember a few things. I ask that you remember that the impact you have had on your teammates' lives is unmeasurable, never doubt that. The time you have spent dedicated to this sport that you love was never, EVER a waste of your time, because you are a better person because of it.

I ask you to remember that although the sadness you may hold in your heart overwhelms you, that you have found a part of you along this journey that will help you follow your dreams, whatever they may be.

Play your heart out today, and leave knowing you've given it all you've got just one last time. Leave knowing that you are one of the lucky ones. Remember the love, remember the defeat, remember the laughs and the tears, remember the battle wounds. Remember this feeling, always and forever.

Best of Luck,

Your Biggest Fan

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If You Have 20/20 Vision, You Can’t See These 10 Annoying Problems Anyone Who Wears Glasses Can

Forget plastic surgery. I want lasik eye surgery.

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Being "blind" is not fun, and it's not for everyone. I started wearing glasses in the 3rd grade and I tried everything to avoid getting them. That whole "carrots are good for your eyes" thing is totally a lie! I ate so many carrots thinking it was going to help but it did nothing. Having glasses is super annoying and I'm about to tell you why...

1. They get dirty so fast.

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Honestly I feel like I'm always cleaning them.

2. People always want to try them on.

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Then, even worse, they hit you with the, "Wow, you really can't see". Uhhh no Susan I can't.

3. You can't lay down in them.

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Whenever you lay on your side, your glasses do the thing.

4. Once you put them down, you can't find them.

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If I'm wearing contacts and I'm doing my makeup, I'll throw my glasses on my bed and then have to feel around for them.

5.  You can't wear cute sunglasses.

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Double glasses is a major no.

6. You can't see what you look like when you're picking out new ones.

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Reasons my glasses have not always been the cutest.

7. You miss spots when you shave.

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The struggle is real when you're trying to shave and you can't even see two inches in front of you.

8. Swimming...

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Either you swim blind or you swim with the risk of breaking and/or losing your glasses

9. Getting asked why you don't wear contacts.

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Because I work at 3 and 4 a.m. or I have class at 8 a.m. Contacts are for special events because I'm lazy.

10. The eye doctors.

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Okay, so the eye doctor actually isn't bad, but you have to go over every time you start to squint your eyes, which for me is every 6 months.

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