I recall a scene in the comic strip For Better or For Worse in which then nine-year old April comes home to find her father dismantling the family Christmas tree.
"I hate it when the tree comes down," she exclaims. "It means Christmas is over".
"I love it when the tree comes down," her father thinks to himself. "It means Christmas is over."
The love/hate scenario was played out in several ways in the Mid-Ohio Valley last week. Last Wednesday, while I was covering a trial over at the Judical Annex, I noticed workers taking down the ornaments and lights on the Parkersburg city holiday tree. Later that day, while at lunch workers were doing the same at the Southwood Park display across from Parkersburg South High School. And, this past weekend, I saw workers taking down the Holiday Lights display in Belpre (something, I'm sure, that was being done over at the Parkersburg City Park display).
The first week of January is more than just the first week of the new year. It's the end of a period of time lasting almost a month and a half (or, in some cases, longer) that younger people love and older people (although they don't likely admit it) can't wait to see get over with. For nearly ten weeks, we're exposed to an endless display of bright lights, Christmas (or whatever you want to call it) songs, and, if not visions of sugarplums, certainly candy canes. By the time January arrives, most people have had their fill of it.
But I think the end of the holiday season (by that, I mean the period encompassing Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Days) is also a realization that winter has set in, at least most years. We don't usually think about it much during December, even though it has arrived by then. Once the holidays are over, it is easier to think about, even if we don't particularly want to.
In that sense, when we stop thinking about the holidays, we start thinking about the reality that has set in.
One comment about the soon-to-be-ended college football season:
Regular readers of this blog know I went to Ohio University, which isn't to say there are people who still confuse that with Ohio STATE University.
I have, at least for now, one response to them:
"No...I went to the school that won its bowl game this year and finished with a winning season."