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Woke up at three in the morning. I stayed in bed for a while, just contemplating life. Then I padded downstairs to say good-bye to the Christmas tree. The cats stared at the tree with me for a few minutes in quiet fellowship, and said good-bye to it, too.
Then, while my family slept, I quietly dismantled Christmas – the cats batting Christmas balls around on the floor while I wrapped and tucked the decorations back in their boxes. I said good-bye to the nativity scene on the piano, the angel on top of the tree, the popsickle stick decorations the sons made in school, the decorations students gave me, the old Hallmark decorations, the decorations I bought years ago at the Rite Aid in their post-Christmas sale, the dragonfly tree decorations from the gift shop that closed down a decade ago, the decorations from Mom and Dad’s old tree. And then I looked at the tree, standing bare and exposed in front of me, and I thanked her for bringing her sap-scent into our home and told her how grateful I was for her. I gently tugged her outside to the front porch, swept up her needles from the floor, and went to bed.
Everyone was up and downstairs when I woke up again. I came downstairs and acted surprised. “Who took down the Christmas tree?!” I asked. “Did you take it down?!” I asked Scott.
But they all knew. It was Santa Claus who took down Christmas and brought it back to the North Pole for another year. Duh.