‘Christmas is a wrap.’
No, I didn’t have to go to the City last week.
There I was, comfortably ensconced on our well-worn Amagansett couch — pile of knitting on my left, stack of New Yorkers on my right — when I realized that I had not seen the Metropolitan Museum Christmas tree.
I had nary a doctor’s appointment or lunch date or party invitation. My calendar was clean. But I knew that if I didn’t get myself back to the City and up to the Met, I would miss seeing the Christmas tree. Because, like almost every other Christmassy Thing in New York City, it would disappear after January 6.
January 6, you see, is Epiphany. Or Three Kings Day. Or the Twelfth Day of Christmas. Whatever you call it — well, except for the Day The “Patriots” Stormed the Capitol — it is more or less the end of Christmas. (Hmmm, I guess the Day They Stormed the Capitol was kinda the end of Christmas, too.)
But back to decorations. After January 6, people untrim their trees, dismantle their mantels, take down their lights. Well, except for the Russian Tea Room. They famously leave theirs up all year ’round.
To be honest, taking down the decorations used to be my favorite part of Christmas.
Oh, I enjoyed looking at decorations. As long as someone else put them up. For some reason I’ve never been fond of hanging shiny balls or strewing tinsel. And don’t get me started about stringing lights. (See one of my takes on this in “Deck the Halls with Bough of Holly.”)
Why, back in the day I disliked decorating so much that I used to bribe my friends with champagne and pot roast to get them to come over and decorate the tree for me. (See “(N)o Tannenbaum” for delicious deets.) This went on for years until The Child grew up and left the house — taking my Tree Trim urge right with her.
But somehow this year felt different. I liked looking at all the pretty lights. I liked smelling all the evergreens. I even liked setting out my bowl of ornaments and my little ceramic tree with the teensy train that goes round and round its base.
And I kinda didn’t want to put them away.
But put them away I did. Then went and poured myself a bourbon.
New York City. January 2023