We have to take down the tree today.

It's mid-January,and we've yet to take down our tree. This is not because I enjoy the tree so much, but more because I despise it. 

I often say I hate everything about Christmas, but that's not true. I like the break that it offers, not just from work or school, but from routine, from expectation. I like the time spent with family. The one tradition that matters to me is that every year the boys and I put together a puzzle. This year, we managed to keep the dog from eating a single piece (last year he managed to swipe a good 10%), and it was oddly less satisfying, much like the year that our eldest opted out of participating. 

In the days before we put the tree up this year (which I delayed as long as possible), I started pitching an alternative: "Let's take the money we would have spent on gifts, and spend it on a trip instead." I thought it was brilliant. The boys agreed. David looked at us with disgust, and the tree went up. It has yet to come down. I'm dragging my feet on that part too. 

I resent the tree's presence in the living room, but not as much as the hours it will take out of my day to get all the ornaments carefully packed away. We have, unfortunately, a lot of really nice ornaments. And really, that's the part I hate, all the hours and hours of meaningless work that goes into "making a holiday"--the shopping, the wrapping, and the goddamn decorating. 

In a little while, when the last kid wakes up, we'll start the process of taking it all down. I will, naturally, complain the whole time because much like my 14 year old, I feel like it's important for people (David) to know what a terrible time I'm having. Also, I only have 11 months to convince him that we should never ever do this again, and judging from the look he gave me the morning when I revisited Wouldn't it be so much nicer to just spend a week or two on a beach? I can't waste a minute.