My Christmas tree is still standing in the corner where we first placed it before the holiday gedoe. It has brought me many moments of peace and enchantment, lighting our home with twinkles for the past 3 weeks. But, it is time. It's a new year. Time for a new look on life. Time to remove these last remains of a year in the past, a year in the book of life. January 6th has past. The three kings have reached their destination of the stables in Bethlehem. The tree is all that remains of the holiday season. Needles are littering my floor, the last of the stocking stuffers collecting dust under the branches. A few forgotten gifts hide under the tree skirt and a few ornaments have made their way into the pile as well. It's time to pack up the memories and savor them for the 2009 season. Tuck each ornament away remembering when it was received and by whom. Fold up the stockings making sure there is no peanut residue as there was one year inviting a mouse and a hole in the stocking. All the Santa candles wrapped up in paper to be opened like a new gift come the holidays 'next' year. And the nativity carefully placed in the plastic bag while each figurine, hand-painted by opa, is secured in paper and placed in the same box we've stored them in since our arrival in Belgium. But I despise the lights. Putting them on, taking them off, getting them all to work, untangling them, rolling them up so they won't be tangled next year...but always somehow are. The lights are a pain, and they have become my responsibility. Erwin gives me credit, saying I do it much better than him. It's his way of placating me, giving me credit so he doesn't have to partake in the worst job of the holidays. And for some reason it works. The lights are my job. And even though I hate it, in the back of my mind I think: I'm best at this, that's why I GET to do it! So, our up and coming job for the weekend is to remove our tree, unclutter our home, and make way for 2009. When the main tree is removed, there will be a floor full of needles to sweep up, which ultimately end up throughout the entire house, slowly cleaned up throughout the year as they become embedded in tiny corners, on the stair mats, and under the radiators. The tree doesn't really like to leave, but rather leave a lasting impact. So, goodbye 2008...hello 2009. A New Year. It Is Time.