The Christmas Decorations Have Been Put Away—But I’ve Got Gifts That Will Keep On Giving!

When I was a child, my mother never took the Christmas decorations down before The Epiphany, or Little Christmas, or Three Kings Day, in remembrance of the three kings who visited Baby Jesus on Christmas.   That first Sunday of January was always a pretty big deal because it meant that the Christmas Season had officially ended.

Little Me.  Secretly hoping my mother kept the tree up way past Ephipany!

When my three kids were young, I followed that same tradition and actually took the tree down the Monday after, when the kids were in school.  And they came home to the house the way it was before the holidays.

Today I woke up early, enjoyed my morning coffee then hit the deck, so to speak, to dissemble the banisters of the greens, lights and ribbons.  Ornaments were taken off the tree as were the gold garland and lights.

Screw it. I didn’t even bother to get dressed. Once I decided to take the decorations down, that was it!

Until late next November or early December, this little cutie is going for a long nap!

Why does it take less than a half-hour to put UP the lights and about three hours to take the lights DOWN?  And that’s only off the tree!

Honestly, I can’t stand the way the banisters look when I take the decorations down.  That’s the one thing that bothers me. I love the embellished stairways!

Back to basics now.  No more greens and berries atop the cupboard.

The runner we purchased in France last summer is back on the chest.  That  Waterford vase was a wedding gift from my ex-husband and his girlfriend. Isn’t it pretty?  It found a permanent place!

All holiday pillows and throws are now in tubs.  Damn–it looks bland now!


Tables and beds were stripped of Holiday linens.  Every decoration was put away.  The large and extremely heavy leaf that rests in the dining room table was taken out—making the transition to the smaller, more intimate one where Bonaparte and I enjoy our evening meals.

The downstairs guest room is back to normal…

And all the Holiday pillows and throws that were downstairs are with their upstairs pillows in tubs for next Holiday Season!

I was on a roll.  The kitchen got the scrub down from me too.  All that holiday baking left its mark in my work space and needed to be a bare slate once again.  Floors were swept and scrubbed.

I also spent the day boiling and reboiling the snail shells from the escargots I made. White vinegar in boiling water.  Four times around does the job. Now they are drying!

The only signs of Christmas 2017 are the many Poinsettias that I can’t bring myself to get rid of.  I actually like to keep them around for as long as possible.  The Christmas tree is still standing.  It is as naked as a jay bird and I’m in a state of shock that the tree hasn’t dried out yet.  Oh, there are fallen needles but it isn’t that bad.  We’ll take the tree out later during the week when Bonaparte has time. But overall, the house is bare.

The plaid tablecloth has been replaced with a Provencal one!  The poinsettias–some of which have been here since Christmas 2016!  I can’t get rid of these.

I also moved some to the dining room table/my pretend office! Geez. When the kids were young the dining room table was the homework and crafting table. Now it’s my make believe office!

Our naked tree.  I’m shocked at how remarkably well this one held up!  The needles are still very much pliable!

The decorations are marked and packed in plastic tubs and I only had one close call. I lost my phone.  In fear that I packed it away and was getting all anxiety-ridden that I would have to go through all the tubs, I retraced my steps and checked a large trash bag on the counter.  Thankfully, it was there.  I was carrying so much garbage around that I inadvertently threw the damned iPhone in the trash!

And now that all is calm, I can enjoy a few gifts that keep on giving.

Oh.  We didn’t exchange gifts this Christmas.  It turned out to be a good thing too because everyone has what they want. There’s nothing we need.  All I wanted was to be with the kids and we had that precious time together. I

However—we did exchange stockings.  And they were filled with candies, little things like socks and playing cards, bottle openers, toiletries and Old Navy Pajama bottoms and tee shirts.

My stocking was not filled by Bonaparte, nor was it filled by Santa.  Oona had the pleasurable task of filling mine.  And it did not come with coal.  But rather, it was filled with a few items that would keep on giving—for a while.

One of the things that was in the stocking was a package of two makeup remover towels.  Fresh Face. Oh, dear God—I was shocked at how great these towels are.  Who thinks of this stuff anyway?  The towels are very soft.  One side a bit less soft and acts as an exfoliating scrubber for skin and makeup. The other, softer side is to clean.  At first, I was skeptical about these—there’s no way makeup can be removed with something this soft.  But wait.  I couldn’t believe how clean the towels get your face.  This is a great gift that’ll keep giving and giving!

The brand is “Fresh Face”

One black and one pink and let me tell you..

I swear I didn’t even need my Albolene to take this gunk off my face! This towel and warm water did it.  I’m still in shock!  These things work!


Another gift that will keep giving—and has managed to give every day since I received it, may be a bit taboo of a subject to talk about, but—it’s the greatest thing since hot and spicy tortilla chips!  Poo-Pourri! That’s right.  A little ounce of lemon,Bergamot and lemongrass.  You spray this delightful elixir into the toilet bowl before you go poo-poo!  Trust me. This stuff works like a charm!

Hey. It has the “Good Housekeeping” seal of approval. This works. Never be embarrassed again when you go to someone’s home to visit.  You’ll spend all day on your throne at home!

But what really fascinated me about receiving this little scented gem of a gift was why??  Why did Oona stuff this into my Christmas stocking?  This—from my child.  Mind you, when the kids were young, the door to the little alcove in my master bathroom that housed my throne was always opened.  Not by me either.  Either the dogs decided to follow me hoping for a fallen piece of toilet paper or whatever else they could snatch from me, or one of the kids came running in for money or some sort of crisis.  As if I could help them while sitting down depantsed.

Besides that, I thought anything that left my body came out smelling like a rose.

Apparently not—but this Poo-Pourri is so great that we will be purchasing more of this.

Facial masks and bath fizzies were also a part of the little gifts that’ll keep on giving.  Although I’m down to the last fizzie.

Oona knows what mommy likes!  I used the hydrating one today after I decided to look human again!

…and I’m down to my last bath fizzie thingy!

My stocking also contained this gift that’ll keep giving.  Bonaparte and I can play while enjoying our aperitifs!

And last night, Bonaparte handed me a wrapped box.  I reminded him that we promised no gifts.  But he assured me it was just a little something.  And when I opened it up, I was thrilled with that little something.

It’s a new bottle of my favorite winter scent.  Guerlain’s L’Instant.  This scent was the first gift Bonaparte ever gave me.  We were a “new” couple at the time and he had to go to Paris to take care of some family business.  He came home with L’Instant and I’ve been wearing it ever since I received it in 2004!

I have never, and I mean, never received so many compliments from strangers–especially strange men, when I’m wearing this.  It’s like a scent magnet!!!

I’m at the bottom of my present bottle and this is absolutely the gift that’ll keep giving over the next year!

Oh…and just before I contemplated getting dressed, the doorbell rang. The postman delivered some hair for me.  How could I not make myself presentable? It was a wig I purchased for $6.99!  $6.99—I’m telling you I can’t buy shampoo and hair conditioner for  that price!

I gave myself a gift that keeps giving.  Hair!  Hey, I cleaned up rather well, didn’t I–but I stayed in my pj’s all day!  Why, I look almost as good as the Bobbi Boss wig model!

Bathed and makeup and hair on, I felt like a million bucks.  But I ended up in my pajamas for the remainder of the day.  I do clean up rather well though!

New hair.  Holiday PJ’s–you do realize I’ll be wearing these PJ’s until they fall apart–don’t you?

So that was it.  The decorations are down. Goodbye Christmas 2017.  How’s about you?  Are your decorations still up?  Do you take them down at Epiphany or do you wait a bit longer?  Do you miss Christmas already or are you happy it is back to normal? I wanna know.

Here’s the last Christmas Carol of the year.  As I was putting this away, I had to listen to it and make snow……

Oh Holy Night. Such a beautiful Carol!

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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34 Responses to The Christmas Decorations Have Been Put Away—But I’ve Got Gifts That Will Keep On Giving!

  1. Maureen Aupperlee says:

    Yes, Cathy our tree and decorations never came down before Little Christmas. But now is different. PuT most away yesterday and,will finish big tree in livingroom and front courtyard by the weekend. Miss the lights, glitz and,glitter. P.s. your wig selection is beautiful. You wear them well.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Maureen. Hey. THE best Christmas memories I have as kids were the Gorman family Christmas parties. Remember when Sr. Eleanor dressed up like Santa and all the young cousins would receive gifts. Those parties were greatness.
      I just went out and bought a ton of fresh flowers because everything feels so blah right now! Ten more months until the decorations come back out!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  2. hipchick66 says:

    I loved this post so much, love your gifts from O and B! I too used to wait until the Ephipany but I took everything down yesterday. It just felt right. It’s been so cold I’m more into cozy and comfy. Oh and Cathe…I just ordered a wig! A short blonde shag that looks like a haircut I had years ago. Very affordable at only $12.95! You inspired me to try it out for fun 🙂

    • Catherine says:

      Lori!!!!!!! OMG. That’s great! Where’d you order the wig from? I cannot wait to see it on you!!!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

      • hipchick66 says:

        I was looking at hats on Amazon, since my ears got windburn yesterday while walking Yoko, and this wig just popped up! Hope it looks as good in person. I’ll post pics on IG once I get it.

  3. TURNER says:

    Those Fresh Face towels look pretty great. Do you enjoy shopping the post-holiday sales? I just scored an amazing deal on lights that I know we will need for next year. Yes I’m already looking forward to next Christmas! I hate to see all the festive lights and decorations come down but it must be done.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Turner. Oh..those towels are incredible! It’s funny because I haven’t done any post-holiday decoration shopping. Yet. I did get a couple of bras though!!!
      Now that things are just about back to normal, it seems that the Holidays came and left in a snap. I’m looking forward to next Christmas too!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  4. Fiona says:

    I didn’t even bother to put up any decorations as I worked all over Xmas but I took the cards down yesterday. That poo spray made me laugh!

  5. Deb M. says:

    I took everything but the tree down today—I will start on that tomorrow. I am tempted to turn into a crazy old lady who leaves her tree up year round but so far, I’ve resisted. Everything looks so bland and boring when the decorations get put away! I need to string some white lights in a few strategic locations around the house and ease myself into the new year……

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Deb. Yeah. I’m looking at the windows in the living room and I think our next project should be getting someone in to hang rods. Drapes will cozy up the room. It’s looking mighty bare right now!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  6. Margaret says:

    Those are such thoughtful gifts that your daughter gave you and I agree, PooPourri is great. I wish they stocked public bathrooms with it! We leave the tree and all decorations up until the Epiphany, and I see a lot of people around here doing the same. You’re right, it is hard to take them down and the house is so bare afterwards. I grew up following a European custom of putting our slippers by the front door before going to bed on January 5th, for the 3 Kings to leave some small gifts in ( just some sweets ). We always looked forward to that night and the story of the Wisemen, and we all still follow the tradition today. Thanks for the video clip, that’s my favorite Christmas carol. Happy 2018!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Margaret! And Happy New Year to you. I like that tradition of leaving your slippers by the door to get little gifts. I wish I had known about that when my kids were young!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  7. Olwyn says:

    I am only good with a few touches of Christmas decor, the tree and the mantle. I get claustrophobic after week of the decor and have to get it down and restore order. I love the simplicity and neutral tones of your place – lets me relax and breathe. Very simple and spare. Very liveable. Inviting.

    • Catherine says:

      Thank you Olwyn! Downsizing after becoming empty nesters was a good thing. I don’t like a ton of “stuff” in the house because I hate to dust. When I was younger it was fine but now, I just don’t want to be bothered. I like the clean lines–thank you. Glad you like our living quarters!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  8. nathalie says:

    i don’t like to keep decorations too long affter christmas , so i removed them monday , the 1st day of the year !!! i know these towels but by sephora , they are fantastic and i only use that to remove my make up . No more products and incredible everlasting ! i was like you , skeptical but now i love it !and it was a gift of a great friend , so i love it twice !!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Nathalie. Wow! I’m learning that those towels are gaining popularity. I’m very happy with them–and they clean up very well too! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  9. Miss Bougie says:

    Normally I leave everything up until Epiphany but this year we’ll be away spending time in Thailand. As I could’t face taking the decorations down mid January everything had to go except for the banister. I’m like you, it looks too empty! I also left some fairy lights as it’s still winter and dark in the morning and mid afternoon.
    I keep my poinsettias; we have wood furniture, hardwood floors and mainly white walls. They give a lovely splash of colour. I’ll keep them until they go unsightly, probably by the time we go on summer vacation.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi B! Ohhhhhhh have a great time in Thailand!! Why is it that the banister is the most pleasing of all the decorations. It is so lush and beautiful and I miss the lights that flickered. Looking forward to the next time the banisters are decorated!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  10. Q.D says:

    I have the Sephora version of those Fresh Face cloths and it is AMAZING!!! I was sceptical because it cost so much (in Australia), but it works! I keep trying to get another but they are always sold out!

  11. calensariel says:

    Whatever you do, DON’T buy the lavender scented poo-pourri! OML! That stuff makes me want to puke. But Bran bought it so I can’t throw it out! I love the idea of exchanging socks to fill. I’m going to “adopt” it! And your picture of Christmas pass… Our pictures from that age all look the same. It’s kind of amazing. Especially the tinsel icicles. 😀

    • Catherine says:

      Hiya Lady Calen. Ohh..I have a love/hate relationship with lavender. I’m allergic to lavender oil–I break out in hives but if the scent is subtle I’m ok. I would NEVER buy lavender Poo-Pourri because it would have to be sprayed before I sit down…and if there is oil in it, I don’t need a break out of hives on my ass!!! LOL!!
      But the stocking idea is the greatest. Even when the kids were younger, they always generated to their stockings first! And after this year of no gifting, the stockings will always be welcomed. Isn’t it a good idea for a true adulting Christmas??? XOXOXOXO!!!!

  12. phoenixraay says:

    I always find the house so empty after Christmas with no decorations! It takes me a little while to get use to the bare house again haha I have one of those makeup removing cloths and I love it! So much better then using those wipes everyday and throwing them away!

    Happy New Year!

    • Catherine says:

      Happy New Year Phoenix!!!! It’s true–that’s why I headed over to Tray Joe’s today for fresh flowers. I needed something to dress the house!!! Those makeup towels–who knew, right? They are amazeballs!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  13. doodletllc says:

    I have to admit that I love taking all the Christmas down…the house seems to breathe a little easier..But I do miss the twinkling lights and I leave the battery candles in place…oh, yes, and one skating scene is left out until it snows here…but with 60 degrees and not even rain in the forecast, the skaters may be here to stay. Stay warm. I like your stocking exchange…for next year I think the girls are old enough and we can take on your tradition. The stockings can be hung and filled throughout the season and opened Christmas Eve. 🙂 We do exchange family gifts…the girls shop for us and each other at TJ’s and use my card to pay…great fun(!)

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Jeanne. It’s about 14 degrees here–but I don’t mind because I’m indoors now. Honestly, past Christmases we’ve all spent too much on gifts and it just gets out of hand. The kids have everything they need or want–so do we and the stockings are just fun!!!! It’s a great tradition to have during Christmas!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  14. Maureen Werther says:

    Happy New Year- I’ve been following your blog and would love to hear more about your job hunting. I’ve been hitting a real wall and an beginning to feel that my skills and “wisdom” are not appreciated:( your thoughts?

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Maureen. Ugh. don’t even get me started on that subject. It’s like beating a dead horse. My skills are excellent. I mean excellent. I worked down on Wall Street for years before becoming a stay-at-home mom. At over 60 I found that the only jobs available are not good ones. If you have connections, I think you are in a better place, but if you don’t know anyone fugetaboutit.
      That’s why I’m desperately trying to get free-lance writing gigs but I can’t even do that. I swear I’ve thought I would be better off posthumously at times. Maybe then my writing will be noticed. I know I sound like a debbie-downer on this subject but that’s our youth-obsessed society. Over 60 and out to pasture. Be that as it may, I can only try before hanging it all up!! Best of luck to you and I wish you the success that I cannot seem to attain! LOL!!! XXOXOXO!!!!

  15. HelloIm50ish says:

    I am married to an Italian catholic. Decorations stay up until after the Epiphany.
    I really enjoy Christmas lights and since it’s frigid in Atlanta, I will wait until next week to take down the outdoor decorations when the temperature goes back up into the 50’s.
    I need to get some Christmas pj’s. You look so cute!

    Happy new year friend!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Robin! Oh–I’m a lapsed Christmas Decoration Catholic. I couldn’t wait for Epiphany this year. While I was on a roll–it all came down. Only thing standing is the bare tree because I can’t take it downstairs by myself. I’ll wait for Bonaparte to take care of that–and at the rate he’s going, it just may be Epiphany when he takes that tree out to the trash!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!

  16. Juliet says:

    Our tree is still up – unusual for us but husband has been tending the tree and it hasnt shed – therefore he is so proud of his tree tending skills he wont LET it come down. Normally he has to be begged to allow a tree in the house and then mutters about the tree when we get one (well when I get one, I remember walking home from the shops when the kids were 5,4 and 3 with a pushchair full of shopping and a 7 foot tree, that was quite an experience as it was also blowing a gale)… We could this darn thing until after Easter, sighhhhh

    • Catherine says:

      Juliet! Our tree is bare but still standing because Bonaparte has been so busy with clients that he hasn’t had time to take the tree out. And I’m too clumsy. I think Friday or Saturday will be the day. Actually, the trash goes out on Friday so it’ll be Friday!
      It’s so cold here now that all I want to do is get under the covers!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  17. You are ahead of me. I have to take my Christmas outside to store it in “Martha” (my storage shed my brother-in-law named) and it is cold outside so I do it little by little. By next week, I think everything will be back in place. Love your wig posts. Michelle got a pink one for Christmas from her sister but I still just have my one topper. Take care and stay warm! Terri

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