Well, the holiday vacation is officially over and we return to work tomorrow.
Actually, my wife worked a few half and three-quarter days leading up to the New Year but she's in non-profit development and had to make sure that last-minute donations were registered and handed off to the financial folks in time for people to get the credit on their 2008 taxes. (Here's a a little tip for those of you worried about your last-minute donations made by check...if your check was dated December 31st or earlier, you should still get the credit for that year, even if the charity doesn't cash it until the new year; no such luck with credit cards...those have to be processed no later than December 31st).
Anyhow, after a week and a half of vacation (staying up late reading and writing, visiting family, trying to sleep in late but failing miserably because our cats still expect to be fed at the normal time, etc.), we're now faced with the reality of returning to our offices full time. Talk about culture shock. My normal attire for the last 11 days has been jeans, t-shirt, and a fleece top. Now it's back to office casual, which in truth isn't so bad but it's not t-shirts and jeans.
The weirdest part of the end of the holiday break is the de-Christmasing of the house. The knick-knacks that were pulled out three weeks before get put away, the holiday CDs are returned to the shelf, and most dramatically, the tree goes away.
In just over an hour, all our hard work stringing lights and hanging ornaments is undone with ornaments back in boxes or wrapped in tissue paper, lights removed and coiled more carefully this year to avoid the frustration so often endured around December 12th or 15th, and the tree itself taken outside for pickup and composting. Of course, a little bit of the tree will be with us for a while...despite our best efforts and repeated vacuuming, I can guarantee that needles from the tree will be showing up from time to time in our living room for the next two months at least.