A national day to remove decorations

Two days after Christmas, and I'm itching to take down the tinder-dry Christmas tree and put the holiday decorations back in storage.

It's not that I didn't enjoy the festivities. On the contrary, my family had a pleasant holiday. But now it's time to move on. I have a hard time understanding why so many people leave decorations up well into the new year. In my town, some homes still sport colored lights and lawn Santas at Valentine's Day. Particularly irritating are those icicle lights dangling from eaves as late as Easter.

Perhaps it's merely my snobism kicking in. The garish displays that many people seem to relish - along with the competition to see who can pull the most juice from the power grid - doesn't appeal.

In Zurich, Switzerland, where I visited friends before Christmas, holiday displays are typically muted. Tiny white lights twinkle, and on the main shopping street, strands of white lights hang down like streamers, illuminating the wintry night. There are no cutouts of Frosty the Snowman or plastic carolers clogging doorways.

On the other hand, children love the clash of color and riot of characters that clutter many suburban American front yards. The exuberance of these displays makes my subtle white lights look puny and unimaginative.

But at least I know when to take mine down.

When I was growing up, New Year's Day was the designated Day of Dismantling. With the TV blaring the Rose Bowl parade, we packed things up until next year.

Maybe President-elect Bush could start his tenure on a tasteful note by designating a national day to remove decorations. That measure would have my full support.

E-mail the Homefront at

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.