Thursday, January 2, 2020

Christmas denouement

Gloomy. Grey. Cold. Wet.

It's the perfect day to take down the Christmas decorations.

Well, it is January 2, after all. The holiday season is over. It's time.

I've never really looked forward to this day. Although winter officially began on Dec. 21, the day I take down the Christmas paraphernalia seems like the real first day of winter. I mean, c'mon. What's ahead? January. Quickly followed by February. And while it's a good thing February is the shortest month of the winter season, it's not so good for 2020: it's leap year.

Oh, good. An extra day of winter. Thanks, Pope Gregory XIII, who introduced the Gregorian calendar in 1582 as a revision – or correction – to the Julian calendar. So thanks, Julius Caesar, who created the Julian calendar as a revision to the Roman calendar in 46 BC. (That's Before Christ. So how can we really be sure that Christmas is on Dec. 25 anyway?)

I'm a little suspicious Julius and Gregory actually got it right in the first place.

There is a complicated algorithm behind leap year, which says "Every year that is exactly divisible by four is a leap year, except for years that are exactly divisible by 100, but these centurial years are leap years if they are exactly divisible by 400. For example, the years 1700, 1800, and 1900 are not leap years, but the years 1600 and 2000 are."

Huh? That kind of logic to compensate for the planet's drift through time and space is way beyond my sportswriter's pay grade. Besides, I'm always leery of any algorithm that features the word "except," which is clearly the CYA ("Cover Your Posterior") gum in the works.

Anyway, none of this figured into my packing up my Christmas window candles, artificial wreaths and Moravian Star for another year.

I started my repacking chore shortly after Kim went to work this morning. It usually takes me about an hour to put the decorations up, and it took me about an hour to take them down. It wasn't that difficult. Plus, we haven't put up a tree in almost a decade, so that saved me a lot of time from carefully repacking legacy ornaments.

But it was a little sad, too. It's the end of another holiday season. Winter beckons. We're no longer in Advent season. Rather, we're in Prevent season.

I also felt a little disingenuous, too. Our block was recently recognized as the best block in the city in its inaugural "Light Up the Block" contest. The signs are still up at each end of our block announcing this honor. I assumed the signs weren't meant to stay up all year. There's not many lights still up, and there is the occasional $75 Christmas tree lying in the gutter.

On the other hand, if the signs were meant to stay up all year, I guess I wouldn't have to put up my decorations, huh?

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