Took Down the Christmas Tree

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Saturday, January 4, 1913: Took down the Christmas tree this morning. It made such an awful mess. Ran an errand to McEwensville after dinner, and was home in three shakes of a lamb’s tail.


Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Grandma’s right—it makes an awful mess when the Christmas tree is taken down.

My Christmas decorations are still up—they will come down tomorrow. I’m trying to delay taking them down for as long as possible, but it’s starting to feel like I’m ready for my house to return to normal.

30 Responses

  1. Good luck Sheryl, that’s such a big job. I’m leaving mine until Monday. Ukrainian Christmas Day. It does look a lot roomier when everything gets packed away.

    • I had a cousin who married someone who had a Ukrainian background–and they also always celebrated Christmas on the 7th. I was always slightly jealous that they were able to have Christmas twice. :)

  2. I like to leave mine up for as long as possible, but then I start to dread taking them down. So I took mine down yesterday.

    • I hope you don’t have too many pine needles still lurking around your house. It always seems like I continue to find a few needles until at least April or May. :)

  3. took mine down yesterday-funny how before Christmas they look so festive and after New Years, so tired

  4. Love that expression “three shakes of a lamb’s tail” !!! … brings back memories of my childhood for it’s an expression I grew up with, here in suburban South Australia, except our lamb shook it’s tail only twice :-D … amazing!

  5. We traditionally take ours down on New Year’s Eve day. We got a gigantic tree this year and it shed lots of needles. What a mess! But I am definitely glad to have my front room back.

  6. Took mine down New Year’s night, just put the boxes in the attic last night. I am happy to get it all packed away.

    • As I sit here, looking at my decorations that still need to be packed away, it sounds wonderful to have everything packed away. Tomorrow!!!

  7. I also got a big grin when I read “three shakes of a lambs tail” as my Mom always said that.

  8. I haven’t taken mine down. I put it up a few days before Christmas so it hasn’t been up too long. we used to wait until Jan 6 for Epiphany and it seems I’m doing it again without intent.

    Sometimes it seems like you grandmother lives alone when she writes that she cut the tree and took it down without mention of any other family members. Either she liked working alone or she just didn’t mention them.

    • Based on the diary I think that she definitely cut the tree alone. It’s a little more difficult to tell if she took it down alone or if someone helped her since she started the sentence with the word “took”. I have memories of sometimes being given the option of doing one of several chores when I was a child Maybe that’s how it was in her family.

  9. Growing up we always a real tree and yes they are messy, but lovely. Since I was married we always had an artificial, not as messy but a pain to drag up and down the stairs. Regardless always a sad day in our household.

  10. now that i learned that trees are full of bugs, I might never get another live one!

  11. I seem to reach the “get back to normal” stage earlier every year….I’ll have to be careful or it will eventually come down before Xmas :-)

  12. Three shakes of a lambs tail! Adorable sayings. I would write them all down if I could! Very cute visual on this one! I love your blog. Oh, I have said that before! -)

  13. I always have mixed feelings about taking the tree down. I always miss it for a few weeks and then it starts to feel normal around the house again. I do leave my ‘winter’ garland up. And…I leave the wreath on the door for a while. My husband thinks I’m nuts!

  14. I love getting the Christmas decorations — and I am just as happy taking them down on New Years day — or the day after. Christmas decorations just seem to lack the luster after Christmas– and I am glad to get them all back in their respective boxes.

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