You may think you know this story, as it starts with a flutter, but the Grinch I'm referring to deals specifically with clutter.

Her face may not be green and she doesn't live in a cave, but her grinchy ways come out when cleanliness she does crave.

Opposite from the grinch that we all love and know, her heart doesn't start out needing to grow.

Her heart already swells three sizes each holiday season, but the trees and presents and glitter all wear on her for some reason.

As the holiday stretches and we see Baby New Year, I begrudgingly agree to what has become entirely clear.

Though all the Who's down in Whoville might be singing their song...

Fah who foraze! Dah who doraze!
Welcome Christmas, come this way!

...the excess and obstacles all begin to feel just so wrong.

Our first step in packing involves staging the gear, gathering all of our bobbles the first weekend of the New Year.

It's an agreement in our house and one of our clearly stated rules, if we leave Christmas up too long we look like two fools.

Day two brings more reduction and removal of our trinkets, placing them all atop our guest bedroom's blankets.

On the final day of the purge we reach a true fevered pitch, and I'd be lying if I said that the Grinch didn't once bitch!

We climb into the attic to pull down our buckets, boxes, and bags, and begin organizing and sorting and packing our Who swags.

It begins with piles of cheer all over the house, and ends with a flurry of activity I'd like to see more often from my spouse.

We remove ornaments and garland and lights from the tree, and we take down all of the bows and the wreaths that we see.

The nutcrackers that like to crack nuts in here heads, are wrapped in their wrapping and placed in their box beds.

But before I know it that's when IT happens to me, but what IT is I'm not entirely sure, you see?

Among all of the piles of holiday glee, something catches my eye over next to the tree.

A little red barn with animals at play on the ground, and the lights of the tree twinkling all around. 

"Maybe, just today, we'll leave it all in place, we'll leave it tomorrow, and maybe the next day, just in case..."

...What if we don't actually want Christmas to go away? What if this Christmas was always meant to stay? We can keep the tree with its lights all a glow, we can keep the Santas and reindeers and bows.

All of this organizing and packing can be such a chore, we'd rather watch Downton Abbey, it's far less of a bore.

"No!" Yells the Grinch, "I must stick to my plan, it must all go away as fast as it can!"

"I can't stand the thought of it around one more day! If this Christmas hangs around any longer you'll surely pay!" 

The thing that I hate is the Grinch is right all along, if only the end of the season could be signalled with a gong.

We've had a great time with all our family and pets, but now that it's January it's time life resets!

We plug right along from morning 'til night, shuffling and packing it all out of sight. The boxes are filled with all of the cheer, safely packed away for another great year.

As we prepare to rid our home of our trees, we begin to buckle and shake at the knees. Oh the mess of the the trees! The trees, trees, trees, trees!

The trees drop their needles all over the floor, you can see the messy trail that's left when we head to the door!

The curb of the street is where we drop our old tree, then the city comes along to collect them for free. They take them away in the back of a truck, to the chipper and grinder to be turned into muck.

Back in our house the mess migrates from downstairs to up, we stage and organize with little help from our pup.

Though our eyes grow weary and we just want a break, we know there's no rest while there's still boxes to take.

It's true that the mess is what the Grinch truly does hate, but after hours of effort it finally starts to look great. We may still have bows in random house places, but they've been largely removed from most of our spaces.

The attic is where our Christmas boxes will stay, waiting to be displayed in just 329...plus one more day.

At the end of the effort our home feels oh so bare, and that's when I realize what's behind Christmas cheer. Our Christmas spirit comes in with a rush in November, but it must leave just as fast or it can be an overwhelming crush to remember.

The key to the Grinch's eagerness to do it again in a year, is balanced with her terror of appearing on Hoarders, a true fear! 

As you can see from my grinchy tale from above, Christmas has a time and place for my Grinch's love. But as the season lingers and stretches to January, we must resolve the issues before she feels far too weary.

With all of our boxes stowed at the end of the day, we can resume our house projects with nothing in our way.

We hope you've enjoyed our tale of Wendy Grinch today, she doesn't come around often, but if you see her be sure to stay out of her way!

Do you have a need or compulsion to clean your holiday clutter as we do? Perhaps the Grinch's hoarding fear also afflicts you? 

Please share your methods and practices that you use to cope, this way my Grinch will feel like far less of a dope.

Comments 20

Comments

1/9/2013 at 10:30 AM
I LOVE it! And I feel exactly the same way! I resist the urge to take everything down on the 26th.
Alex
1/9/2013
Without our weekend after New Years standing tradition, I'm sure Wendy Grinch would prefer 26th to begin her destruction.
Andrea
1/9/2013 at 10:38 AM
This blog post is amazing.

(Shhhh, don't tell Wendy Grinch that our tree and decorations are staying up at least through Inauguration so our out of town guests can see them when they come.)
Alex
1/9/2013
I've got to be honest, we gave it our most. The post turned out pretty nice, though I don't like to boast.

I won't let Wendy Grinch know of your plans through inauguration, or she'd be at your door because taking down Christmas is her mission.
1/9/2013 at 11:14 AM
Sweet :) Need I say more?
Alex
1/9/2013
:-)
Sarah Burnette Conrad
1/9/2013 at 11:15 AM
Glad I'm not the only one!
Gretchen
1/9/2013 at 11:30 AM
Nice rhyming! We take our decoration down on New Year's Day. We went through a purge last year and got rid of a bunch of Xmas decos that had seen better days and didn't have a lot of meaning to us. I know where Wendy is coming from. Clutter stresses me out.
Alex
1/9/2013
I'm not liking all of this support for Wendy's Grinching.
Karin K
1/9/2013 at 12:42 PM
I was happliy reading along, loving all the Seussing, until one picture stopped me dead in my tracks: the needle-littered, empty tree stand. Is that really all there is to it? A bowl with a spike in the middle? Say it ain't so...simple! Am I correct? And how does it perform? We have a nightmare of a stand and I can't believe the tree didn't fall over this year... we had to adjust it TWICE, even adding some shims. It was the leaning tree of Pisa-mas.
Alex
1/9/2013
You are absolutely correct on the tree stand. We've been using it for all nine Christmases in the house and haven't had an issue. The main thing is to not drill the trunk hole too large. Here's where you can pick on up. www.pursellmfg.com/tree-stands-and-display-methods/rebar-stands-and-bowls Let us know if you get one next year.
Sarah
1/9/2013 at 2:55 PM
Nice!!

We don't take down/put away Christmas until Epiphany (January 6). I love that last little bit of time with lights and sparkles and nutcrackers up. There will always be stray items around (have yet to deal with Christmas wrapping supplies bought on clearance this week...), though.
Alex
1/9/2013
I'd hate to see the hives I'd cause with Wendy if I forced her to wait until the 6th. It was a rough go this year just to make it to the 4th.
1/9/2013 at 5:09 PM
Brilliant.
Alex
1/9/2013
Thanks!
1/9/2013 at 6:12 PM
(standing ovation, clapping enthusiastically)

No one I know has a perfect system for decorating or undecorating. Since you had the Christmas tour to complicate things this year, you had more of a situation than I imagine is usual for you two. If things were decorated the same each year, it would be easy to put each room's decorations into tubs, labeled of course, and that would be that. But tastes change, and new items are added to the Christmas collection, and packing it away is never as simple as we think it should be.
Alex
1/9/2013
The tour absolutely complicated things this year. We had borrowed items, not typically displayed items, and new items. We even bought an entirely new ornament rubbermaid and filled the whole thing up with our new purchases and gifts. We have a decent system, but it's by no means perfect.
1/10/2013 at 2:27 PM
This post was hilarious!
Kitty
1/13/2013 at 11:47 AM
I LOVE this post. I feel exactly like Wendy. I love the holidays, but I have to admit when I come downstairs and the Christmas clutter is gone...I feel an inner peace. Enjoy your house projects!
threadbndr
2/11/2013 at 4:09 PM
I've been missing in action over here due to a combination of getting the 'flu over Christmas vacation and then getting behind at work as the nasty virus went 'round the office.

I decorate slowly, adding more and more as the Advent season goes, then do not take things down until Twelfth Night (1/6), which is the actual end of the liturgical season of Christmas. I love how organized your attic is! I spent quite a lot of effort in Jan 2012 getting all my decore items organized (not just Christmas stuff, but all the seasonal things). It sure paid off this year. I knew just what containers held what and when it came time to pack it all back away, it went very smoothly.
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