Well, that's it then. The tree has been taken down and put back in the garden to grow a bit more ready for next time. Christmas is officially over. All that remains is a rather straggly poinsettia and a pile of cards waiting to see if this year I manage to follow my cousin's example and cut off the bits I like in order to make my own cards for next Christmas.
As regards the poinsettia, I truly do not know why I bother. Every year I buy one. It looks fine. I follow the instructions. Then the leaves start to fall off. Have I underwatered it? Have I overwatered it. Absolutely no idea. It now has no green leaves at all although there are still some quite healthy-looking red ones. There also seem to be buds that are in the process of opening up. The poinsettia is one of life's mysteries!
And those cards. Well, they are sitting there in a pile. What usually happens is that eventually I get fed up of them and put them in the paper recycling bag. This Christmas just gone I managed to recycle a few into a scrapbook project for the three-year-old in the family: scrapbook, scissors, cards to chop up, glue-stick to stick them in - perfect crafty present. Goodness only knows what will happen this year.
Oh, and there is also a "Despicable Me" advent calendar that somebody gave us half way through December. Quite what strange yellow creatures (minions?) have to with Christmas escaped me. So far nobody has opened a single door. And there are two boxes of chocolates, one of them huge. Also gifts. I am waiting to see how long they remain unopened.
And so, as the Three Kings give presents to children in Spain today and La Befana flies over Italy doing the same job, Christmas therefore continuing a little longer, here we have put it away: done and dusted until next time. And the schoolchildren have been back at their desks for two, and in some case three! Days.
The folk across the road, first to put up massive decorations in their garden, removed everything on New Year's Day. Maybe they wanted to beat some kind of record. Or maybe they were afraid of forgetting to remove them. After all, there is a superstition that says that if you do not take them down by January 6th, then the decorations have to stay up all year. Otherwise, bad luck will ensue.
It seems to me, therefore, that an awful lot of people must have missed the luck deadline after Christmas 2015 because 2016 had more than its share of bad things going on! Fingers crossed for 2017!