by Ellie Evergreen

If you are one of those families that has to take the tree down on Christmas or the day after because it is falling apart, turning brown, and shedding needles by the bucketful, try purchasing your tree later in the season. It is worth it to have the extra time between Christmas and New Years. The less you have to do between these two holidays the better, especially if you are the family that is hosting the New Year party this year. Once that tree comes down, it sets off a whole domino effect of things that have to be done before New Years Eve. The carpet has to be cleaned, all the Christmas tree decorations have to be packed away, and if you have to do that, you have to put all yourChristmas items away. Purchase your tree two weeks from Christmas instead of four and keep it watered. It should last into the New Year and make your New Year's bash much more festive.

The Christmas meal is usually full of excess. Stock up on the Tupperware and get ready to freeze some of the leftover Christmas feast to use throughout January. Your life will be much less miserable if you do not have to cook like a madman (or woman) after the holidays. Odds are, you practically lived in the kitchen through Christmas and New Years so give yourself a break. Your local restaurants could use your support at this time of year so plan to eat out a little more than usual. After that fabulous Christmas and New Years feast, no one will begrudge you a little restaurant time.

This year, rather than doing it all yourself, recruit some help taking down those Christmas decorations. If you have a relatively big family close by, this should not be a problem. IF ot, hire some of the local teens to help out. This is especially true of those outside lights. If you are comfortable with putting those beautiful outside lights until spring, let it ride and take them down when you do your spring-cleaning or clear the gutters from leaves and ice. After Christmas is the perfect time to relax a little bit and let the holiday stress go. Remember, it will be back in less than a year. If you haired a company to put up the exterior lights, include the take down in the contract. You will be glad that you did.

Many large families will make a list of Christmas chores for each member of the family to do to prepare for Christmas. The same could apply for after Christmas. Assign each family member an area to take down, box, and have all the repacked Christmas decorations lined up at the attic or basement door for transference to the storage area. Then parade the entire group up and down with the boxes or form a human chain like the bucket brigades before fire hydrants. Getting everyone involved will make it easier on you and allow everyone to relax sooner.

Finally, if you do not belong to a huge family, spread the work out. Take your time and only do a few hours of work per day and relax the rest of the day. Set small goals for the after holiday take down and give yourself a few weeks in which to accomplish your task. Outside of that, you could either toss a lit match into the house and move to Canada, or sell it "as is." Of course, you could always save time next year by leaving everything right where it is. Next Christmas, the only thing you will have to do is read your letters from Santa. With your Santa letters out of the way, you will be done. Your home will be Christmas ready. - 39969

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