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The Un-Holiday

The undecorating has begun. The removal of the vestiges of Christmas. The packing up of the sparkly and shiny. The putting away of the anticipation the new season brought with it.

Yesterday my children and I walked through all the rooms of the house and gathered up all things Christmasey and carried them to our front room.

It is a huge pile of decorations. The lighted garland, the indoor wreaths, the Santas...all in a massive daunting pile.

Usually I pack them all up by myself. Wrap them up in their newspaper wrappers and bubble wrap. And do it all very martyr like.

This year I decided to do something different.

We had an un-decorating party. I brought out cookies and egg nog. We put on the Christmas music for the very last time, even though I am tired of listening to it, my children aren't. I think that they would gladly listen to "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" in July if I played it. I forced myself to think of it as fun.

We danced around the room, or stampeded as the case may be. Holding up new ornaments we got this year, reminiscing about the holidays that just past. It got me thinking about how many times we treat something like a chore, when it really doesn't have to be. It can be just as fun to take down the Christmas tree as it was to put it up. To use the time to look back over the holiday and remember all the fun things that happened.

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Every year I leave some small decoration out. Some tiny little Christmas decoration that sits out unobtrusively all year long. Nothing that screams, "Hey, you forgot to put me away!" like a big wreath on the door or a gigantic blow up snowglobe on my front yard. No just something small that might even go unnoticed for months. One year it was a small star that sat in the corner of our fireplace mantle. Another year it was a sprig of holly that sat in a bowl on the foyer table. Another, a tiny little ornament that is tucked onto a bookshelf.

It won't be spotted right away, maybe for months it will sit like a delicious little secret on the shelf, waiting. A little reminder that all year long the hope is there, even when we don't acknowledge it. The magic of the season doesn't have to end, it is just waiting for us to just slow down and look for it.

And so for the new year I wish for all of you to find the magic sitting on the shelf. It will be in the places that are the most ordinary. The ones that don't sparkle and shine. It might be in the weight of a toddler's hand on your cheek, or the smile on your teenager's face, the sunlight through your window or the laughter of a friend.

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