HTT: How To UnChristmas


Yes this.

This is my favorite time of the year.

Not that I don't love family gathering over gastro-ginormous meals, or swimming pools and the smell of sunblock, or the first taste of a homegrown tomato, but from Boxing Day to the first time I have to turn on my air-conditioner is the most holy of holy times.

The air is crisp (read cold), the lawn practically mows itself, sure it's flu season but I don't ride the bus and I wash my hands after touching everything. This is the season where there are no distractions, no lead-in's, nothing to celebrate, nothing to agonize over, angst free, bug free, it's the soul of midnight.

And there's no better way to start off the season than the Official UnChristmas-ing of your home and office.

First up: All perishable food must be consumed or thrown away. Cookies especially. Cakes even more so. Left over nibbles from your favorite part of a particular meal needs to be gone from your refridgerator by no later than January 2nd. (I give you that as the official date assuming you might be too hung over on January 1st to do any major cooking, so left overs can be a godsend, however, if you don't follow my particualr calendar, then choose any day you want.)

Things that are allowed to linger a while, Pez, Lollipops from See's Candies, various stocking stuffers, but they are to be collected in a bowl and placed in the center of the room for any and all to eat. Such a bowl should be empty by the end of January. Earlier if you have kids.

Next: Wrapping up the Wrapping. Now I'm not a recycle freak. you choose your own path. But i do like to save as much wrapping stuff as possible because I'm both cheap and lazy. (It actually is easy being green.) Boxes go, but wrapping paper, bows, ribbons, gift-bags, crepe paper, all that stuff can live forever. Gift bags are the best. Find yourself a nice wrapping kit (we have two) that can store all that stuff, along with the stuff you didn't use and, of course, copious amounts of scotch tape.

Next: The Breaking of the Boxes. This isn't as easy as it sounds. You think "Squish 'em down . . . throw 'em away." But no no no my friend. No two boxes are built the same. Some are taped, some are glued, some still have instructions in them, or little extra bits of toy that weren't removed during the initial play time. You have to be careful. You have to be precise. A good exacto-knife and a dedicated hour when you're not totally drunk. Also, for those of you with kids, cardboard is your best friend. It's versatility ranges from all manner of weapons, shields, costumes, to work surfaces for the messiest of his/her take-home art projects. Always keep a healthy stash of several sizes and several densities on hand.

Then the Castaway of the Cards: Well Wishers, Season's Greeters, and Happy New Yearlings all need to make their way either to the front of your fridge, or into the trash. Careful though, this is the most delicate time when Gift Cards and Grandma Checks get lost. Rifle through all cards and envelopes thoroughly before tossing.

Then the Retangling of the Lights: Some men will tell you that it's important to have some sort of system of gathering up the Christmas lights in order to avoid a complicated mess the following year.


Go ahead, you little Martha Stewart wanna-be, you turtle-neck wearing nancy-boy, go ahead and log onto to Pinterest for time saving ideas and while you're at it, see if you can find some scrap-booking materials to save what is left of your testicles.

When it comes to killing the lights it should be all grip and rip, bundle and box. I want to know that if I die in the coming year, then the man who takes over my job will come to hate me. And if I don't die in the coming year, I want my future self to stand with the full weight of hell at his feet and be not afraid.

Finally: Un-Oh-Tanenbaum: This part is always done by my wife, mid January. The removal of the ornaments is careful and delicate and with the same cooing girl noises she made as when she gently unboxed them in December. Once done, I will unlock the tree from the stand, drag the tree through the kitchen and out onto the back yard where it will stary until it becomes a verifiable fire hazzard.

The dried needle trail will be swept up and disposed of and we will look once again at the home that we've built, joyful, triumphant, spacious, and holiday free.

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