January begins much the same as December ends

by Lorin Michel Wednesday, January 1, 2014 9:35 PM

As this New Year begins I am celebrating the idea that it starts literally as the last one ended: with Christmas.

Each January 1, I have a tradition. I sleep in a bit later than usual, lounging about with coffee and then, with the annual New Year’s Day Twilight Zone marathon on SyFy, I de-Christmas the house. This year was a little easier than usual simply because I didn’t have as much out and about. I started by taking the wreath off of the front door when we returned from our very late morning walk with Cooper. I wrapped up the extension cord that we had in the courtyard so that we could light the wreath every night.

Then I took the various Santas off of the dining room table. I took the very large Santa, with his wine, grapes and wine menu board, from the entertainment center. The two lamp lighter Carolers were removed from the mantel. The Carolers were all placed in my dining room hutch since that’s really the only place I have for them currently. I don’t have a dedicated space any longer but Kevin is going to build me something. And I just don’t have the heart to put them into a big plastic storage bin.

I went to the storage room in the garage and pulled the various boxes I’d need in order to re-store things. The big wine Santa box; the motorcycle Santa box. The box that holds my near life-size Santa (child size, actually) and the box for the wreath. All of the things that needed restored were on the eat-at bar. The boxes were thrown into the room in front of the bar while I continued to de-Christmas.

I pulled the strands of colored lights from the tree and wrapped them up. Then I pulled the three strands of lights containing grape clusters, followed by the three strands that contain soft plastic wine bottles and glasses. The Santa who hugs the top of the tree was removed and put into the hutch drawer with the stockings.

All of the lights were piled into the bottom of the box that holds the child-size Santa, then he was put into his plastic bag and placed on top. The box was closed and re-taped. The wine Santa was put into his box and taped up; ditto the motorcycle Santa. The wreath was put into its box.

Then I disassembled the tree. It is in three parts that fold or have to be folded down, and placed into its rather large box. That was then followed by a re-taping. Everything was taken back to the storage room in the garage and put away. Christmas music CD cases were restocked with their respective CDs and put back into the Christmas CD section of our somewhat vast CD collection, not to come out again until next year.

The tree at the Arizona Inn, with its 2500 lights

About an hour later, the house was back to normal. I dusted, I changed the sheets on our bed and the bed in the guest room. I cleaned the guest bathroom. We put any residual gifts left over from Christmas morning away. The season had come to its official end.

Except that it hadn’t.

The Arizona Inn, which is family owned, first opened in 1930 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. It is nestled off of a side street not far from the University, situated in a lovely neighborhood. It is absolutely exquisite, and each Christmas, they put up a big Christmas tree in the library, strung with more than 2500 white lights. Each evening, between 5 and 8 through New Year’s Day, they serve cocktails in the library next to the tree in front of a roaring fire. We decided that we should end December with Christmas and start January with the end of Christmas. We got ready and drove the couple of miles to the Inn, and walked through the lobby. It’s got an old-world kind of feel to it. Rich with history and wood and atmosphere. We made our way to the library and there was the tree. We settled onto one of the couches flanking the fireplace, ordered a glass of wine and just relaxed, letting the residue of the season past wash over us even as we toasted the new year. It seemed the perfect way to welcome 2014.

Here’s to a year filled with 2500 lights. I can’t think of a better way to live it out loud.

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live out loud

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