I dutifully waited until AFTER January 6 to take down our Christmas tree, as is the Italian tradition. It came down today.
We certainly had some new experiences this holiday season, learned a few things along the way, and had a few surprises.
1) We had to struggle to get ourselves out of the mindset that we HAD to have a real tree or it wouldn't be Christmas. The fake tree was purchased, it went up like a dream, and looked great. We discovered that we actually liked not having to water the tree, or clean up the dropped pine needles all over the place.
2) Italian ornament hooks ROCK!! Perhaps these same gadgets were in the markets in the USA this year, I don't know. But I fell in love with the ones in the stores here. They are green plastic, and come in rows on a form, so you have to "pop" them out. I'm converted. I hope I never see another metal ornament hook for the rest of my life.
3) Italian Christmas tree lights are expensive.. way more expensive than the strands I used to run into Walmart and pick up every year when one of our old ones didn't work right. We had to purchase new lights this year. I didn't even bother to ship over our old ones, knowing that the electrical plugs and currency wouldn't be right.
4) Surprise #1 - When we had our little shipment of household goods shipped over in April, two boxes of Christmas stuff were included. One of those boxes contained my favorite ornaments. We never even opened the Christmas stuff up on arrival day, so we opened the box with great trepidation, expecting the worst. Besides our wine glasses, this probably was the most fragile stuff we shipped. Miraculously, there were only a few casualties. Bravo, Echo World Transport!! You guys are the best!! To have a few of our favorite family ornaments with us here means the world to us.
5) Christmas here is not the huge commercialized event it is in America. We appreciated that immensely. It goes hand in hand with our whole "downsizing" and simplifying our lives theme. Our main objective in moving here was to find our lives again, to get rid of all the extraneous "stuff" of life, and live a truly meaningful existence.
Christmas was certainly downsized for us this year. Instead of decorating the entire house inside and out, we opted for just the Christmas tree and my Santa collection. Instead of pointsettas everywhere, we had only 2. And instead of lots of Christmas cookies (which we might have made if I had been able to find any holiday cookie cutters here- Surprise # 2), we ate Panettone and loved it.
We've learned to downsize in just about every way you can imagine. You are just forced to do it for the simple reason that you don't have much space to store things. Christmas was just one more experience, proving to ourselves that we could do it. If anyone out there is struggling over trying to clean out, organize, simplify, downsize....if I could do it, anyone can. YES, YOU CAN!