Cleaning up after the holidays is the worst. Not only is cleaning kind of a chore (har har), but you’re also coming down from that holiday high and finding yourself staring down at the long, dark tunnel of the winter months with absolutely nothing to look forward to until the spring.
I’m kind of a buzz-kill, aren’t I?
The Swedes have it down pat, though, when it comes to holiday clean-up: a whole other holiday known as Julgransplungering, or literally “the plundering of the Christmas tree”. It’s kind of a holiday unto itself that usually occurs the twentieth or so day after Christmas. There’s food, and singing, and one last dance around the tree (yup, just like a maypole) to mark the end of the holiday. I always regarded it as the “final hurrah” of the Christmas season before it’s back to the reality of winter.
If it’s something you’re into, I highly recommend conducting your own modern adaptation. Mine usually involves a glass of wine and one last listen of all my Christmas playlists as I take down all of my decorations. It’s not quite like dancing around a tree, although I may or may not do a happy dance after my apartment is looking clean and back to normal.
The time of year is another great opportunity to review your greeting card list (Don’t have one? Want one? Click here to learn more on how to assemble your own) and make note of any changes in address, or personal information. I always try to update my list to include anyone who’s given me a card during the past season. Hopefully there are no deletions on your list!
I’ve got a Christmas budget, too (read all about that here), so after the holidays I go through my receipts and make notes on how much I spent, saved, and of course, what I ended up buying. Sometimes I’ll come up with new ideas for gifts after the exchange has occurred so I’ll note those too, along with my purchasing information like sizes, color preferences, etc. It sounds like a pain but it really helps me with my shopping the next time the holidays roll around!
Every season I find that my decorations and other holiday fare grows exponentially in comparison to the amount of storage I have allotted for these items. Taking the time to put everything neatly away allows me to discard any unwanted items, and gives me a chance to make notes about repairs. (I chat a little more about storing holiday décor here.)
Dealing with the aftermath of the holiday season is not necessarily a party. (Although the Swedes have made it so.) But the act of cleaning up and organizing everything afterwards has become almost a ritual of closure for me. It’s a way of embracing the calm and restoring order after a busy and often anxiety-inducing time. I also find it clears the air and gives me a sense of renewal and purpose for the year ahead.
The final act of the Christmas tree plundering when I was younger involved a procession with the tree out of the door and to the yard, where we’d toss it onto the ground in a grand finale. Although I never actually threw the tree itself I found the whole thing kind of satisfying. There’s no tree-throwing in my version now as an adult, but there’s still something to be said for engaging in the ritual- it leaves you with that same sense of completion.
I’m so happy to have spent another holiday season with you and excited to start a brand new year on the blog. What are some of your end-of-holiday rituals? Have you ever plundered a Christmas tree? (Have you ever plundered anything?) Tell me all about it below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I love talking about the holidays so if you’re still feeling that holiday fever, you can read more about the most wonderful time of the year here. Interested in cleaning up and getting over with? I write lots about organizing your household and your life here and here.
I’m a big fan of a lot of unique Swedish words that indicate a different cultural attitude than that of the US. Fika, for example–like, who doesn’t need a coffee & cake break?
Yay! I’m so glad you feel the same way. Fika is one my favorites too. 🙂
I would love to indulge in a bit of Christmas tree plundering…with wine! Sounds like a blast!
I make a huge pot of Creole Gumbo, and our adult children come over for a day of repacking decorations, gumbo, and football.
Even though I shop year-round (because I’m not fond of crowds or Black Friday), I also restart my Christmas Club account. My shopping is usually done by Christmas, but the extra cash comes in handy for unplanned gifts, dinners out with out-of-town guests, or family pizza nights. 😉
I love the idea of making a family tradition of your own, especially if it involves gumbo! Sounds delicious! I think the transitional moments in our lives deserve some attention as well.
Boy, am I ever amazed at your organization! I try to keep a “Celebrations” fund going for all of those little surprises that pop up throughout the year, but come Christmas time whatever is left usually gets drained! This year I hope I can follow your example and not be such a Christmas nut. 🙂
Sounds like a great idea to prolong some of the fun. In addition to going through the new calendar and putting in everyone’s birthdays and anniversaries etc, I start making everyone’s birthday cards in advance, that way I can free my mind up for the presents.
That’s a great idea! You are way more organized than I am. 🙂
Doubt that, I just enjoy making things when we have a lot of ‘indoor weather’. 🙂
I hear that! 🙂